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Volume 408: debated on Tuesday 1 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many people are illiterate in the United Kingdom. [122524]

[holding answer 30 June 2003]: The International Adult Literacy Survey in 1996 suggested that in Great Britain there are 7.9 million adults aged 16-65 who are functionally illiterate. This is equivalent to 22 per cent. of the population aged 16-65.The Department has commissioned a new representative sample survey of working age adults in England to provide an up-to-date assessment of the scale of literacy and numeracy need. These estimates will be mapped to the new national basic skills standards and will be published in September 2003.