A recent inquiry (February 2011) that examined adult numeracy has discovered that around half of England’s working age population did not have the skills considered essential for everyday life. In fact, 75% in England have numeracy skills that are below Level 2, despite the billions of pounds that have been spent on maths help through initiatives such as the Skills for Life programme to try and address this.
The National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE), who commissioned this inquiry, blames a culture that views low numeracy skills as socially acceptable; ‘we are a nation quite happy to admit to being bad at maths. We say, ‘I’m useless at maths,’ cheerfully, and with a sense of finality.’ (Dame Mary Marsh DBE) 
The consequences of children reaching adulthood with a low ability in mathematics are outlined starkly in the report by NIACE. School leavers find securing sustainable employment far more difficult, and are more than twice as likely to be unemployed. If they retain their position, they will often be lower paid than a more numerate colleague.
Additionally, they are more than twice as likely to become a parent whilst still a teenager themselves and then will not have the skills to assist their own children with their school work, thus perpetuating the problem. They also stand a higher chance of developing a long-standing illness and to experience depression.