Individual Learning Accounts

Education and Skills written question – answered on 19th December 2001.

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Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire Conservative, East Devon

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills by what means the Government intend to enable genuine learning providers to access moneys that have been diverted to bogus learning providers.

Photo of John Healey John Healey Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education and Skills)

The ILA programme was shut down on 23 November and closed to the further booking of learning by learning providers. Officials are setting up, as a matter of priority, arrangements to validate outstanding payments and claims for payment from learning providers so that the majority of providers, who have acted honestly throughout, can be paid as quickly as possible. We will pay for eligible learning that has already taken place and for learning that is already booked on the ILA Centre's system, providing we are satisfied that eligible learning is undertaken, in accordance with the rules of the programme. Learning which was not booked onto the ILA system before the programme was shut down will not benefit from an ILA discount.

The overall purpose of ILAs was to help people overcome the financial barriers to learning by helping with the costs. The incentives and discounts were placed in the hands of the individual as they are best placed to choose learning that is most beneficial to their training needs. Some learning providers will, as a result, have received an increase in their business because of ILAs. However, learning providers can only access moneys if an account holder has decided to use their ILA to help pay for learning at their establishment.

The Department has already been successful in reclaiming public funds and is actively working with other partner organisations including the police to recover funds wherever possible.

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