The Long Term Costs of Numeracy Difficulties (2008)

Low numeracy costs the public purse £765 million per year

Competency in numeracy is an important factor not only for the wider economy, but also for social justice and mobility. Numeracy issues are linked to reduced employment opportunities, increased health risks, higher rates of depression, increased risk of exclusion from school and increased risk of involvement in the criminal justice system. 

On the basis of existing data, KPMG estimated that low numeracy therefore costs the public purse £765 million per year when isolating the costs to those with only numeracy difficulties. Numeracy and literacy difficulties however often co-occur - the combined cost is approximately £2.4 billion.  

Inversely, providing effective numeracy interventions at age 7 and reducing the number of pupils who currently leave primary school with very low numeracy, could produce an annual saving to the public purse of £1.6 billion. 

KPMG. 2008. The Long Term Costs of Numeracy Difficulties. Every Child A Chance