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Committee launch inquiry into automation and the future of work

24 May 2018

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has launches an inquiry on automation and the future of work, looking at its likely impact on UK businesses and the potential it has for productivity, growth and reindustrialisation.

The inquiry will also consider the impact of automation on workers, and the potential benefits and choices for consumers. The automation inquiry is also set to examine the advice and financial support available for businesses seeking to automate, and for those whose jobs are affected by changes in how we work.

Given the significant impact which automation is likely to have on workers in the future, the Committee’s inquiry is also likely to look at the policies and actions needed to reskill workers affected by automation, and what role business and Government should take in supporting this.

Chair's comments

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said:

"Increasing automation offers significant opportunities for businesses and consumers. But it also poses significant challenges, not least to workers who will rightly be concerned by reports that
between 15 and 30 per cent of UK jobs across the economy are at high risk of automation by 2030.

"Automation does offer a route to helping to tackle our long-standing productivity puzzle but the UK needs to be ready to ensure workers are reskilled and do not lose out. It’s important that workers in the everyday economy where most people work, such as retail or health and social care, get the technological and other support they need to boost productivity and improve the quality of their jobs.

"Automation could provide an opportunity for the UK to reindustrialise, where we compete internationally on quality and price, not a race to the bottom on wages, through the development of more efficient and productive industries. In seeking to capitalise on these opportunities, it is vital that Government does what it can to ensure the benefits of automation are realized for the economies of all parts of the country. As a Committee we want to examine the impact of automation on business, consumers, and workers and to explore the opportunities for the UK to be a world leader in automation and in ensuring everyone benefits from it".

Send a written submission

The BEIS Committee automation inquiry is inviting written submissions on the following questions:

Businesses

  • What impact has automation had on business productivity to date?
  • Could automation lead to reindustrialisation as processes and products become cheaper?
  • Which sectors are most likely to be affected by a growth in automation? What sort of tasks are most and least likely to be replaced by automation?
  • Is there enough advice and support available for businesses who want to automate? Does the Government’s Industrial Strategy offer the right support to businesses for automation?
  • What opportunities are there for British tech businesses from a rise in automation? How can these opportunities best be exploited for the benefit of British industry?

Workers

  • Are there specific demographic groups most at risk? How far can these be mitigated by new roles in these industries?
  • What are businesses doing to offer training to staff, either as a result of or in support of automation? Should Government have a role in retraining workers affected by automation?
  • What other actions should the Government be taking to support those affected by automation, such as a ‘robot tax’?

Consumers

  • What are the potential benefits and disadvantages for consumers of businesses increasing automation?

Send a written submission to the Automation and the Future of Work inquiry.

Deadline for submissions is Friday 13 July 2018.

Further information

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