UK firms urged to back drive for numeracy

Britain's bosses are being urged to make sure all their employees have at least the maths skills of a 14-year-old in a new drive exposing the poor numeracy of many school leavers.

The move is part of a campaign to cut down on the scandal of adult innumeracy which has left 17 million people with the maths skills of primary school children.

The National Numeracy Campaign (NNC), a charity set up to crack down on the problerm, is urging firms to sign a pledge to aim to improve their employees' skills to the level of a third-year secondary school pupil.

The campaign admits that it may seem a "modest" target – but says it is only the first step towards trying to eradicate the problem and get rid of the common feeling that it is "cool" to be bad at maths,

Chris Humphries, chairman of the NNC, said: "Poor numeracy is a blight on individuals' life chances. With 17 million people in need of help, this is just the beginning. Our initial targets may seem quite modest but we're in this for the long term."