A YouGov poll for the charity suggests that while four out of five people would be embarrassed to confess to poor literacy skills, just over half would feel the same about admitting poor maths skills. ...
Mr Humphries said just 15% of Britons studied maths after the age of 16, compared with 50-100% in most developed nations.
He pointed to research by KPMG auditors suggesting that annual costs to the public purse arising from a failure to master basic numeracy skills amounted to £2.4bn.
"We are paying for this in our science, technology and engineering industries, but also in people's own ability to earn funds and manage their lives," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.
Many people could not get jobs because they struggled to read graphs and interpret documents, while plumbers unable to do the calculations required to install an energy-efficient boiler might lose income, he suggested.