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Offenders: Education

Volume 474: debated on Monday 31 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much was spent on providing education and skills for offenders (a) in custody and (b) serving community sentences in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. (196138)

I have been asked to reply.

Since the transfer of responsibility for offender learning and skills from the Home Office in 2001, the Department for Innovation, Universities and its predecessors, have spent the following on education and training in prisons.

Financial year

Total spend (£ million)

2001-02

57

2002-03

73

2003-04

116

2004-05

126

2005-06

151

2006-07

156

The Learning and Skills Council also spent a further £30 million in European Social Funding for the two calendar years 2006 and 2007, and established a £13.9 million budget from EQUAL funding for the period December 2006 to March 2008 to meet additional provision for offenders both in custody and in the community.

The majority of education for offenders serving community sentences is funded and provided through the general education system available to all learners, although a further £10 million was provided in financial years 2004-05 and 2005-06 to support additional Skills for Life provision for offenders in the community.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what funding has been provided for education and skills enhancement for offenders (a) in custody and (b) serving community sentences for 2008-09, broken down by funding source; and if he will make a statement. (196139)

I have been asked to reply.

We can protect the public by helping offenders become more productive members of society, and it is clear that an important way of doing that is to tackle the low skills and worklessness that can be major obstacle to an offender living free of crime. Thus the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills devotes significant resources to providing education and training in prisons and for offenders in the community.

In financial year 2006-07 we provided a total of £156 million to support offender learning including funding for Prison libraries and salaries for Heads of Learning and Skills in prisons, the majority of which was routed through the Learning and Skills Council as new offender learning planning and delivery arrangements were introduced across England from August 2006.

The Learning and Skills Council also spent a further £30 million in European Social Funding for the two calendar years 2006 and 2007, and established a £13.9 million budget from EQUAL funding for the period December 2006 to March 2008 to meet additional provision for offenders both in custody and in the community.