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Poor basic skills kill off community spirit

ADULTS with the poorest literacy and numeracy skills are the most cynical about politics, a study for the Basic Skills Agency shows.

Not only does the lack of skills create barriers to work, it also prevents people playing active roles in the community, says the report, Basic Skills and Political and Community Participation. Of those with the poorest reading skills, only 2 per cent of the men and none of the women had ever been members of political parties.

People with good basic skills were up to four times more likely to be active in charities, political parties, residents' groups and parent-teacher associations.

Alan Wells, director of the agency, said: "Giving a broad range of opportunities for learning can have a major impact on reducing exclusion."

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