Numeracy campaigners have said that there are about 17 million people in the UK who can not do basic sums like calculating discounts.
Chris Humphries, chair of the organisation National Numeracy, told the Today programme's John Humphrys that people in the UK treat poor numeracy as a joke.
He said that people are twice as likely to be unemployed if you have poor numeracy and that having good maths can add 10% to your earnings.
Mr Humphries went on to say that the problem of poor numeracy "has got substantially worse in the last 8 years."
"We're paying for this in our science, information and technology, but also in our earnings."
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