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Mr. Skinner: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what recent estimate he has made of the levels of adult literacy in England; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Simon: The 2003 Skills for Life Needs Survey estimated that 5.2 million adults have literacy skills below Level 1 (broadly equivalent to an English GCSE at grades D to G.) A further survey will be conducted during this spending review period.
Good literacy skills are crucial to life and work, and the Government are committed to enabling adults to improve these skills. Free literacy courses are available to adults in England through the Government's Skills for Life strategy, which was launched in 2001. So far 2,276,000 adults have improved their literacy, language and numeracy skills and gained a first qualification, meaning the Government have met the 2010 Skills for Life target over two years early. Well over 1 million of these qualifications were achieved in literacy.
Our long-term ambition, as set out in World Class Skills, is for 95 per cent. of adults to have functional literacy skills by 2020, up from 85 per cent. in 2005. To achieve this trajectory the Learning and Skills Council's 2007 Statement of Priorities set out plans to deliver 597,000 literacy achievements at Level 1 or above during the period 2008 to 2011.
Mr. Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills what discussions (a) he and (b) his officials have had with the Higher Education Funding Council for England on the North West Lifelong Learning network. 
Mr. Lammy: Ministers and officials speak to many institutions and organisations about issues that affect individuals progression to higher education. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is responsible for managing the lifelong learning network (LLN) programme and they lead in discussions about the progress that the individual networks are making.
There are five lifelong learning networks in the North West: Cheshire and Warrington, Cumbria Higher Learning, Lancashire, Greater Merseyside and West Lancashire. These LLNs have received over £15 million of HEFCE funding.
The overall objective for LLNs is to improve the coherence, clarity and certainty of progression opportunities for vocational learners into and through higher education. HEFCE officials have discussed with individual LLNs matters relating to additional student numbers, the interim evaluation of LLNs and the use of e-systems to support learners.
The HEFCE institutional team also attend the HEFCE funded HEEL (Higher Education in East Lancashire) group which is in its second year of operation. HEEL has four working groups: curriculum development, community engagement, employer engagement and marketing.
Mr. Peter Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much his Department has spent on (a) direct grants and (b) joint projects with universities for research on agriculture in each of the last 10 years. 
Mr. Simon: The Department does not provide direct funding for agricultural research, but allocates the science and research budget to research councils who then fund different areas of research. The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) is responsible for agricultural research. BBSRC estimated spend on research in agriculture in the last 10 years is set out in the following tables.
|Estimated spend ( £ million )|
1. Direct grants includes core strategic grant (CSG) and research grant spend at BBSRC-sponsored institutes.
2. Joint projects with universities includes research grants* at other institutions.
|Estimated spend ( £ million )|
This table shows the breakdown of institute funding by CSG and research grant spend.
Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how much co-funding from the private sector the research councils attracted in each of the last 15 years, expressed in (a) cash and (b) real terms. 
Mr. Simon [holding answer 18 November 2008]: The total value of co-funding from the private sector for the 10 complete years since 1998/99, the earliest year from which figures for the councils are available without incurring disproportionate cost, is as follows:
|Table 1. Cash terms or nearest approximation( 1)|
|Table 2. Real terms or nearest approximation( 1)|
|GDP deflator||Total (£000)|
|(1) Some of the figures included in table 1 are on resource/accrual terms and represent the nearest approximation available for cash terms without incurring disproportionate cost. Real terms value in table 2 were calculated from these figures by applying GDP deflators, which were last updated 30 September 2008.|
1. The private sector has been defined as organisations not controlled by Government.
2. AHRC was not formed until 1 April 2005.
3. ESRC data are not available for 1998/99, 1999/2000 or 2000/01.
Mr. Willetts: To ask the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills how many students funded by the Learning and Skills Council were resident in each English region in each year since 2003-04. 
Mr. Simon: Table 1 shows the number of learners funded by the Learning and Skills Council resident in each region. Figures are presented from 2003/04 to 2006/07, the latest year for which fully audited data are available.
|Table 1: Number of Learners funded by the Learning and Skills Council by region and funding stream, 2003/04 to 2006/07|
|Region||Adult and community learning||Further education colleges||University for industry||Work based learning||Train to gain||Grand total|
1. Figures are taken from the Individualised Learner Record final F05 data freezes. An earlier freeze of University for Industry data has been used due to data issues with the final freeze.
2. Region is based on home postcode of the learner.
3. The other category includes incomplete records and learners not resident in England, but who are learning in England (for example, learners resident in Scotland or Wales).
4. For Train to Gain and Work Based Learning, participation is counted as the number of starters.
5. There will be an element of double counting in the figures as some learners will participate in more than one funding area.
6. Totals may not equal the sum of their components due to rounding.
7. Train to Gain was created in April 2006. Standard reporting practice is to include the months of April to July 2006 in the 2006/07 academic year.
Individualised Learner records
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