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Workplace automation risks widening rich-poor gap in UK

Staff Writer |
Robots and automation may significantly boost the British economy, but may widen the rich-poor gap as many workers lose out, a report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said.

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The IPPR estimated in its report that 44 percent of jobs in the British economy could feasibly be automated, the equivalent of more than 13.7 million people who together earn nearly $400 billion.

At the same time, automation in the workplace could raise productivity growth by between 0.8 percent and 1.4 percent annually, giving a significant boost to economic growth in Britain.

The think-tank report said unless the rise of the machine economy is properly managed by the government, there is a danger that the benefits will be narrowly concentrated in the hands of investors and small numbers of highly skilled workers, while the rest lose out.

The report also said that as automation threatens jobs, there is a risk of social disruption by widening the gap between rich and poor in Britain.

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