Treasury banks on UK numeracy levels to win the Brexit vote

Treasury banks on UK numeracy levels to win the Brexit vote

Algebra was never my strong point at school.

I have just about managed to lift my jaw from the floor after attempting to understand and draw succour from the impressive equation issued by George Osborne’s  “HM Treasury analysis: the long term economic impact of EU membership and the alternatives”.

With a population of some 64m, voters will certainly want to digest those fearsome stats that have been manufactured at great expense.

But wait, before they do that we should look at some stats ourselves.

Firstly on voter turnout numbers from 1945 to 2015.

  • Voters numbers in 1950 were the highest with 83.9% of the population voting
  • 2001 was the lowest number with 59.4% voting
  • The 2015 election saw an increase to 66.1%

Now with these numbers firmly in our mind we need to consider the intelligence of the voting population by way of numeracy.

According to National Numeracy, an independent charity, all is not well in the nation.

Times tables and spelling bees are not working it seems. Our schools are turning out a staggering 80% of adults into the UK workplace with a low level of numeracy. These statistics have seen very little improvement since 2003.

So if only 60% of the population actually bother to vote, just over 7.5m will actually be in a position to ‘possibly’ understand/believe the ‘math’, or in this case the ‘algebra’.

So the big questions for George Osborne are this.

  • How many does he expect will read this?
  • Of those, who on earth is going to understand this, or even try to?
  • Are HMT aware of the very low numeracy levels in the UK?
  • How much did this cost to prepare?
  • Can George Osborne explain the calculation in simple terms to the nation himself?
  • Have HM Treasury got nothing much to do?
  • Is there life on Mars?

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