Parliamentary Debate on Literacy and Numeracy

The Parliamentary Backbench Business Committee has decided that the backbench business for Thursday 10th October will include a debate on a motion about improving levels of adult literacy and numeracy. The Members in charge are Caroline Dineage, Gordon Birtwistle and Robin Walker.

The motion to be debated is:

“That this House: recognises that with 1 in 6 adults functionally illiterate, Britain’s skills gap is preventing this country from fully realising our economic potential; understands that improved literacy rates not only have economic benefits but also have positive effects on an individual’s self-confidence, aspirations and emotional health and well-being; notes that literacy rates for school leavers have shown little change in spite of initiatives introduced by successive Governments over recent decades; understands that the social stigma attached to illiteracy and innumeracy often prevents adults from seeking the help they need, which means that signposting illiterate and innumerate adults to further education colleges is not always the most effective course of action; recognises that literacy and numeracy programmes must be made easily accessible to the most hard-to-reach functionally illiterate and innumerate adults if valued progress is to be made; and calls on the Government to renew efforts to provide imaginative, targeted and accessible support to illiterate and innumerate adults.”

It’s worth reading the transcripts from the Committee’s meeting on 10th September where these items were discussed before deciding on this Thursday’s debate.

You can see the MPs’ informed comments and exchanges if you scroll down the page at

The WEA welcomes this debate very warmly and looks forward to the MPs’ further discussion and active support for these issues. We’ll be following the debate with great interest and will continue to campaign with others on the important matters of adult literacy and numeracy.

What would you add to the MPs’ debate?

About Ann Walker
Adult education and lifelong learning specialist and campaigner. LinkedIn:

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