National Numeracy welcomes the government’s green paper Building Our Industrial Strategy and its recognition of the links between everyday maths skills and productivity.
The Industrial Strategy identifies 10 pillars, the second of which is to develop skills by ensuring that everyone has the basic competencies needed in a modern economy - including boosting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills, digital skills and numeracy.
National Numeracy argues that poor numeracy has long been the missing variable in the productivity equation.
A 2014 report for National Numeracy from Pro Bono Economics estimated the bill for poor numeracy at around £20 billion a year.
Andy Haldane, Bank of England Chief Economist and National Numeracy trustee, recently spoke about this in his speech to the Institute for Government.
He noted that the UK ‘punches below its weight on numeracy’ – 17 million adults are stuck with primary school-level numeracy skills – and that the UK scores 17th out of 17 in an OECD survey of financial literacy.
National Numeracy has strong evidence for the impact of its work in boosting maths confidence and skills. So far over 60,000 people have taken its Challenge Online – an interactive website which anyone can use at no cost, at home, work or on the move, to confidentially assess and improve their everyday maths skills.
Mike Ellicock, Chief Executive of National Numeracy, said:
“We are pleased to see signs that more and more people are recognising the vital thread between numeracy and productivity.
“Up until now, government initiatives to address productivity are based on an assumption that the majority of the workforce is functionally numerate; our data suggests that this assumption is wrong. The new Industrial Strategy recognises this and I am delighted to see numeracy feature prominently.”
“In order to thrive in the global economy the UK will need to be numerically smarter. We must help people and businesses to thrive by ensuring everyone has the basic numeracy skills needed in a modern industrial economy.”