Skip to main content

Literacy: Greater London

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills whether his Department has made an estimate of the number of functionally illiterate adults living in London over the last eight years; and if he will make a statement. (186659)

We define “functionally literate” as having literacy skills at Level 1 or above and our public service agreement target for adult literacy from the comprehensive spending review contains a performance indicator for 597,000 people of working age to achieve a first Level 1 or above literacy qualification by 2011 towards our ambition of ensuring 95 per cent. of adults have a minimum of entry Level 3 numeracy and Level 1 literacy by 2020. Since the launch of the Skills for Life strategy in 2001, 1.759 million adults have improved their literacy, language or numeracy skills. The Skills for Life Survey in 2003 found that 19 per cent. of adults aged 16 to 65 in London region were below Level 1 literacy (approximately 190,000 people), compared to an average of 16 per cent. for England. We are currently planning to update the survey.