Plans for new training schemes have been unveiled today to raise the skills of low paid and unemployed people.
David Blunkett, Education and Employment Secretary, claimed that the pathfinder projects, which form part of a £400m Government drive to improve adult skills, will use new adult basic skills standards, national tests and a national curriculum to develop the skills of adults, who are less numerate and literate than the average 11 year old.
They will be launched in every English region early next year.
Blunkett said: "People with poor literacy and numeracy skills tend to be in low paid jobs or suffer lengthy periods of unemployment. On average an employed person could earn an extra £1,000 a year if they improved their numeracy skills.
"Research carried out for the National Skills Task Force shows that if we were to raise numeracy skills of adults to the standard we expect of 11 year olds, we would increase our gross domestic product by up to £40bn."
By Helen Gilbert