A government advisory group has called on ministers to triple the amount of further education funding for adult basic skills to Pounds 680 million a year in five years as part of a national strategy to eradicate adult illiteracy and innumeracy.
Sir Claus Moser's report on adult basic skills, A Fresh Start, has set a "realistic" target to bring basic skills courses to 3.5 million adults by 2010. There are just 250,000 adults on Further Education Funding Council-funded basic skills courses.
The drive would mean increasing the estimated Pounds 180 million the FEFC spends on basic skills each year to Pounds 350 million in 2000-01 and to a constant Pounds 680 million a year thereafter. Sir Claus also said he wanted the FEFC to fund work-based skills courses.
Launching his working group report this week at the Department for Education and Employment, he said: "The secretary of state has to back this and make the means available."
Ministers are to set up an implementation group, chaired by education minister Baroness Blackstone. Sir Claus's recommendations top government targets.