The UCL Institute of Education has called for a ‘national learning entitlement’ that would entitle every adult to £10,000 to spend on further or higher education, with the proviso that they don’t already have a degree.
The authors of the report cost their proposal at £8.5 billion per year and point out that it’s cheaper than a similar plan proposed by Labour at the 2017 general election. They suggest that employers should be allowed to spend apprenticeship levy funds to top up these costs, including training that doesn’t take the form of apprenticeships.
A UCL spokesperson explained, “It should be broadened to cover other kinds of adult training, allowing employers to top up the £5,000 entitlement. The apprenticeship levy is in itself a reasonable idea, but it is poorly designed and the resources raised can be spread beyond just apprenticeships.”
The proposed changes to the levy rules could add an extra £1 billion of revenue, affording everyone free lifelong learning at a cost of around £10 billion.