'Son of ILA' has bright, fraud-free future, insists government

June 28, 2002

The successor to the ill-fated individual learning account scheme will have tough security and quality assurance to guard against fraud, the government said this week.

In its response to the education select committee's damning inquiry report on the ILA "debacle", the government admits that tighter security and quality checks should have been in place in the scheme, which collapsed amid fraud allegations last autumn.

The response, published this week, says the scheme eventually overspent by more than £93 million over two years when 2.6 million people became holders of accounts designed to help cover the cost of specified courses with a subsidy worth up to £200.

The government says it decided to shut the scheme when it emerged that a computer disc containing ILA account numbers illegally obtained from a database was being offered for sale.

Despite the subsequent controversy, the government says that strong support for the concept of ILAs has encouraged it to go ahead with a successor scheme.

The "son of ILA", as it has been dubbed, will aim to strike a balance between ease of use and access for learners and tighter anti-fraud measures.

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