MPs’ Maths Guide ‘In style of school text book’

(Telegraph) – MPS ARE BEING TOLD how to calculate simple percentages in a guide produced by Commons officials.

The guide to maths, which is paid for by taxpayers, asks `What is the % button on a calculator?’ before telling MPs it is there to calculate percentages.

Another section is headed ‘What are percentages?’ and goes on to explain: “They are a way of expressing what one number is as a proportion of another – for example 200 is 20 per cent of 1,000.”

The guide, called ‘Statistical Literacy: How To Understand And Calculate Percentages’, has been produced by staff in the Commons library, who help MPs with their research. The tone of the manual has been likened to those published for children.

It asks: “What’s the idea behind percentages?” before giving the answer: “Percentages are essentially a way of writing a fraction with 100 on the bottom.

“For example: 20 per cent is the same as 20/100, 30 per cent is the same as 30/100 and 110 per cent is the same as 110/100.”

The guide also tells MPS how to calculate 40 per cent of 50: “First write 40 per cent as a fraction – 40/100 – and then multiply this by 50: 40 per cent of 50 = (40/100) x 50 = 0.4 x 50 = 20.”

The Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “The Commons authorities must have a very low opinion of MPs’ grasp of mathematics if they have spent taxpayers’ money to show them how to do straightforward percentages.

“We need people in Parliament who have a sound command of complex figures or the Government is never going to get the nation out of debt.”

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