Hugh Pickens writes writes "BBC reports that that millions of people struggle to understand a payslip or a train timetable, or pay a household bill as government figures show that almost half the working population of England have only primary school math skills and research suggests that weak math skills are linked with an array of poor life outcomes such as prison, unemployment, exclusion from school, poverty and long-term illness. "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," says Chris Humphries, chairman of National Numeracy whose organization seeks to emulate the success of the National Literacy Trust, which has helped improve reading and writing standards since it was set up nearly 20 years ago. The Department for Education wants the vast majority of young people to study math up to 18 within a decade to meet the growing demand for employees with high level and intermediate math skills. "It is simply inexcusable for anyone to say 'I can't do maths'," adds Humphries. "It is a peculiarly British disease which we aim to eradicate""