Poor math skills costing Brit taxpayers PS2.4bn a year

January 5th, 2009 - 4:08 pm ICT by ANI  


London, Jan 5 (ANI): Lack of basic mathematical skills is costing British taxpayers nearly 2.4bn pounds a year, according to a new report.

The study led by the KPMG Foundation has estimated that around seven million UK adults have at best the maths ability of a nine-year-old.

Children, who fail to master basic math skills, face exclusion from school, truancy, health risks like depression.

Such children are also more likely to remain unemployed, and indulge in criminal activities as adults.

Legal costs alone cost the taxpayer 164.8m pounds a year in court appearances and jail terms.

The report said that people with very low numeracy skills are two to three times more likely to live in a household where both partners do not have jobs.

“The research suggests that numeracy difficulties play a distinctive role in restricting opportunities throughout life, the Independent quoted the report as saying.

Competent numeracy would thus appear not only important in relation to employability and the economy but also as a protective factor in maintaining social cohesion,” the report added.

The report further said that women were more likely to admit to difficulties with maths than men because they were more honest.

Almost 18 per cent of the women with poor numeracy skills classified as suffering from depression compared to 11 per cent of men.

While those over 55s are likely to be the best placed to tackle maths, 25 to 34-year-olds are the least confident.

The report suggests that concentrated effort to identify people facing difficulty in maths by the age of seven, could save up to 1.6 billion pounds.

It also urges businesses to contribute towards a drive to improve maths provision.

Barclays Bank has become the first company to back the maths drive pledging 1.2m pounds to send employees into at least 150 schools to help teach maths. (ANI)

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