Can we afford to starve education of funding?

“BRITAIN is facing a chronic skills shortage as the country’s teens languish among the worst in the western World at reading and maths.

A devastating new report last night claimed England and Northern Ireland together are rated in the bottom four “of the international class” for literacy and numeracy.

And they’re the UK’s 16 to 24 year-olds are dead last in an OECD classification of 19 countries for computer problem-solving skills.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) slammed ministers past and present for “two decades” of failing the nation’s youth.

And it urged the Government to use a further £2 billion from the Apprenticeship Levy to pay for more skills training.

Lizzie Crowley, CIPD skills adviser, said the country was “sleepwalking into a low-value, low-skills economy”.

She said: “Our report should serve as a real wake-up call for the Government to break with the past past two decades of failed skills policy and set the UK on a new course that delivers the right results for individuals, organisations and the economy as a whole.”

She added: “We can either take the high road as a nation or we can keep doing what we’ve always done and get the same mediocre results.”

The CIPD said it was the first time the OECD had arranged the statistics in this way.”