Individual Learning Account scheme closes extra early

29 Nov 01
The government has suspended the Individual Learning Accounts scheme two weeks ahead of schedule after police made 39 arrests in connection with alleged fraud and theft.

30 November 2001

The programme was closed on November 23 after the Department for Education and Skills' special investigations unit had uncovered 'irregularities'.

The suspension of the ILA scheme in England was already set for December 7. ILAs provided a grant of up to £200 for adult learners to enrol in vocational training courses.

Education Secretary Estelle Morris said companies had been 'abusing the scheme by offering low-value, poor-quality learning' when she announced the original plans for the scheme's suspension.

A DfES spokesman said the department was unable to comment for fear of compromising the investigation but did confirm that the department would honour existing accounts.

Damian Green, the shadow education secretary, said: 'It is appalling that new evidence is being uncovered when the government was warned of the risks before the scheme started 13 months ago.

'I have been asking the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee to begin an investigation into the government's conduct over this scheme,' he added.


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