Govt urged to support adoption of new technologies

Businesses in the UK need more support to manage the transition to automation, according to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee.

A report published by the House of Commons committee points to the UK’s slow place in moving to automation, with the country lagging behind its G7 competitors. It argues that unless the Government steps up efforts to manage the transition — with support in areas such as skills, investment and training — entire regions of the UK face being left behind and British businesses could find themselves being uncompetitive.

To ramp up the leadership and co-ordination needed to enable the UK to capitalise on these new technologies, the report calls on the Government to produce a UK Robot and AI Strategy by the end of 2020.

The Automation and the future of work report puts forward a series of measures that could be introduced as part of this strategy to help support businesses, industries and universities and boost the adoption of automation.

For example, it proposes a new tax incentive designed to encourage investment in new technology, such as automation and robotics, and recommends that the Government funds an impartial source of advice for businesses that want to invest in automation.

Rachel Reeves, chair of the BEIS 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 for 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. Productivity, economic growth, and ultimately job-creation and higher earnings, will flow to those countries that capitalise on these technologies.”

Our Next-generation connectivity report looks at how the transition to new technologies and next-generation internet connectivity will impact businesses in five key business sectors. Download your free copy now!

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