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Committee calls for tax incentives to promote automation

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The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee has called on the government to encourage investment in automation and robotics through a new tax incentive in the next Budget.

The BEIS Committee has published its report on Automation and the future of work, concluding that the UK has been too slow to invest in automation and risks falling further behind the rest of the G7 in its adoption of robots. The report recommends the government should set out a UK robot and AI strategy by the end of 2020.

Rachel Reeves, chair of the 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.’

The committee sees the lack of business investment in new technologies and automation undermining efforts to boost productivity in the UK economy. The government should prioritise measures to promote such investment among SMEs, including bringing forward proposals in the next Budget for ‘a new tax incentive designed to encourage investment in new technology, such as automation and robotics’.

The committee’s inquiry found no support for the idea of a robot tax to mitigate the impact of automation on workers. Given the current low levels of UK investment in robots, the committee concluded that a tax would act as a further disincentive.

In its summary, the report sets out a view of the way forward in which: ‘more co-operative ownership models, as well as greater employee engagement, stronger employment legislation and a fairer corporate tax regime are key to ensure public support for the benefits of a growth in automation, a rise in living standards and a fair economy and society’.


Issue: 1458
Categories: News