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Jeremy Corbyn warns of 'huge social cost' if UK not prepared for tech revolution

Jeremy Corbyn warns of 'huge social cost' if UK not prepared for tech revolution

Agnes Chambre

2 min read

The Government must take a central role to make sure future technological changes do not come at a “huge social cost”, Jeremy Corbyn will say today. 

The Labour leader will take aim at “doom-mongers” who warn that developments in artificial intelligence and robotics could result in mass unemployment.  

But he will argue the state needs to be prepared for the impact of the disruption and to manage the “churn” of different skill requirements.

“Technological change, from automation to decarbonisation, means that many jobs and industries will disappear or shrink in the coming years and decades,” Mr Corbyn will tell the British Chambers of Commerce.

“But I am not one of the doom-mongers, who believe that will inevitably herald an era of mass unemployment. At every stage of economic and industrial history, jobs, industries and skills have been lost, replaced and transformed.

“But whether that happens at huge social cost, as it did, for example, in the early days of the industrial revolution and the Luddites, or is embraced and benefits everybody, depends on managing and planning for technological change. We can’t simply leave it to the market.

“We need public institutions, public investment and public enterprise to work with business to manage the social and economic effects of rapid technological change so that it benefits the many not the few.”

A recent report by PWC has suggested by 2030, 30% of British jobs could be affected by robots.

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