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Our poor maths skills are costing the country dear; You are paid PS9 an hour and get a 5% rise. What's your new wage? Come on, come on...

ANEW poll has found almost one in four adults would be unable to make a routine calculation, with many others struggling to work out interest on a savings account or exchange rates.

Earlier figures have revealed around half of England's adults have maths skills comparable to a primary school pupil.

The National Numeracy charity is calling on the Government to do more to recognise Britain's maths problem and work to improve skills.

Out of 2,115 adults surveyed, 23% were unable to work out how much pay someone would get if they got a 5% increase on their PS9-an-hour rate.

The same percentage were unable to answer a question on how many US Dollars they would get for PS210, if the exchange rate is PS1-$1.22.

Less than two-thirds (63%) could calculate how much interest they would earn on an interest account which pays out 2.5% a year.

A new report by National Numeracy and KPMG notes that a 2012 survey found that 49% of working-age adults in England have the numeracy level expected of primary school children.

Its authors says poor numeracy skills are costing the UK economy PS20bn a year.

"Poor numeracy among individuals is often not detected and the impact on productivity within a particular workplace is not quantified," it says.

"Numeracy - the ability to solve everyday problems through the application of basic mathematical skills and understanding - is often overshadowed by concerns about literacy and subsumed in academic mathematics. And yet it is different from both."

The report adds: "The resolution of all this cannot be left to the education and skills system alone. It is not solely a matter of ensuring students leave school numerate, important though that is.

"Help must also be directed to the millions of barely numerate adults already at work, many of whom will continue to work for several decades."

National Numeracy chief executive Mike Ellicock said: "Now, more than ever, we need new solutions to this very old problem. With Brexit on the horizon, better number skills are a blatantly obvious requirement for upping the UK's game in terms of productivity. We know that millions of people have a real fear of numbers - but we can help everyone to overcome this and get the essentials of numeracy. For this we need people to 'just do it', employers to recognise the numeracy deficit within their own workplace and work with us to remedy it. And we want government to acknowledge the scale and urgency of the problem and support us in action to crack it."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "We accept that there is much more to do to make sure people have life skills they need and this includes a basic understanding of maths.

"Those who achieve a good level in maths increase their chances of securing a job, an apprenticeship or progressing to further education. That's why we have introduced a rigorous new curriculum, a more challenging mathematics GCSE and a new core maths qualification to encourage students to continue studying maths beyond GCSE."

TEST The maths calculations asked as part of the poll were: 1. Susie is paid PS9.00 per hour. If Susie gets a 5% pay increase, what is her new pay per hour? 2. Fiona inherits PS8,400 and invests the full amount in a savings account which pays 2.5% interest per year. How much interest does she earn in the first year? 3. For the following question, please round your answer to the nearest 10 dollars. Please imagine the current exchange rate for US dollars is PS1 = 1.22 dollars. How many dollars should you get for PS210? 260 $3: 2.10 PS2: 9.45 PS1: Answers:
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 26, 2017
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