Great Britain

‘Lagging’ Britain will lose jobs unless it embraces rise of robots, MPs warn


JOBS will be lost if Britain fails to embrace the rise of robots, MPs warn.

The UK is lagging behind other countries on artificial intelligence and risks missing out on the economic boom it will bring, the Business Committee says.

Entire regions, such as the old industrial heartlands, are said to be in danger of being left behind unless swift action is taken by ministers.

The MPs want tax breaks to encourage companies to invest in robots.

Labour MP Rachel Reeves, boss of the select committee, said: “The switch to automation brings challenges for businesses and for workers, with fears for livelihoods or disruption to job roles coming to the fore.

“The real danger for the UK economy and future jobs growth is, however, not that we have too many robots in the workplace but that we have too few.”


“For all the potential of the UK, and despite our excellent tech and research base, the fact is that we are lagging behind our international competitors in our adoption of robot and automation technologies.

In a blistering attack on ministers, she said the Government has “failed to provide the leadership needed to help drive investment in automation and robot technologies”.

The report tears into previous governments for failing to help workers hit by the decline in the steel and coal industries.

It warns that this time, ministers must support those most affected to help them adjust.

The report states: “If the transition is managed badly, entire groups and regions could be left behind.

The MPs say that proposals backed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for a “robot tax” on companies using machines would backfire by making businesses less competitive.

Felicity Burch, Confederation of British Industry digital and innovation director, commented: “The evidence is clear — when companies invest in technology, higher productivity and better living standards follow.”

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