I accept that for a small section of our society even a fairly basic level of literacy may be too challenging. But that cannot be an excuse for not tackling the appalling level of adult literacy in this country.
Around 7 million adults in England are estimated to have poorer literacy skills than the average 11-year-old - to put it more crudely, something like one in five adults in England do not know how to use the Yellow Pages to find a plumber or cannot read the instructions on a medicine bottle. Many of these adults have the ability to improve their literacy skills but for a variety of reasons missed out at school.
That is why we are developing a national strategy to tackle the issue of adult literacy. In November I announced measures to improve basic skills education for adults. David Blunkett will be announcing the full strategy next year.
Minister of State
Department for Education and Employment