(2) what funding was provided to further education colleges to enable students to undertake qualifications in upholstery and soft furnishing in each year between 1996 and 2006; and if he will make a statement.
We have increased public investment in further education by 48 per cent. in real terms between 1997-98 and 2005-06. Adult education funding will increase by 7 per cent. between 2005-06 and 2007-08, with funding for young people increasing by 13 per cent. over the same period. This means that overall in 2007-08, through the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) we will invest £11.2 billion, an increase of £716 million compared with 2006-07.
Information on course subjects that learners are undertaking is only available from the LSC at the broad sector level. This does not allow for discrete subjects such as upholstery and soft furnishings to be identified, therefore it is not possible to provide details on the level of funding for these courses.
Colleges have benefited from our 48 per cent. real terms increase in further education funding between 1997-98 and 2005-06. We have realigned funding to support our priorities and as announced on 15 March we have met our interim adult Level 2 target with a million more adults in the workforce with essential employability skills. Also more than 1.6 million learners have achieved Skills for Life qualifications in literacy, language and numeracy.
The structure and delivery of courses is the responsibility of the individual providers which means that we do not hold information on this centrally. It is therefore not possible to report on the number of traditional upholstery skills courses delivered by colleges in any given year.