With the current government previously pledging to improve the adult education landscape and the funding streams that support it, and a lack of actual progress following these claims, many of us might now be looking to elect a government that aims to prioritise adult learning opportunities in the UK. The Liberal Democrats are proposing a grant for every adult in England that will enable them to spend £10,000 on their individual education and training over the course of 30 years. The main aim of this would be to assist learners in paying for the cost of approved courses and the funding for this would allegedly be obtained by reversing government cuts to corporation tax and returning it to the 2016 rate of 20%. The focus is on learners in England, as all the other nations have been devolved.
The Liberal Democrats are not the only party to take note of the need to improve adult education provision – Labour has announced policies to boost lifelong learning, proposing a National Education Service that would be free to use and open to all citizens regardless of age, background and personal circumstances. The Conservatives have recently launched their National Retraining Scheme that will help adults that are at risk of losing their jobs to AI to build new skills.
The Lib Dems hope that learners will be encouraged to continue saving money to add to their government financial provision and further increase the opportunities available to them. Employers and the local government will also be able to add to these savings.
It is clear from each party’s announcements of policy plans to address issues with adult education that this is an issue the public care deeply about and as such must be an initiative worth supporting. Hopefully a new election will bring with it new investment in adult learning in the UK.