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Learning funded from the couch

COUCH potatoes could end up funding a revolution in lifelong learning under plans announced by a Labour MP.

Blackpool South's Gordon Marsden says between pound;150 million and pound;200m a year could be raised for lifelong learning projects through a leisure technology levy. It would place a 20p tax on every rented recreational video, CD-Rom or computer game and 50p on each one sold.

The cash cold boost government contributions to individual learning accounts from the current pound;150 to pound;800 or even pound;1,000.

Mr Marsden, an education select committee member and former Open University lecturer, also calls for free FE up to A-level standard and increased collaboration with the university sector. His ideas are contained in Beyond 2002, a pamphlet on Labour's long-term policies.

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