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Too few robots a ‘danger’ to UK economy

With the UK lagging far behind many of its competitors in the adoption of automation and robotics, MPs are calling on government to introduce a UK Robot and AI Strategy by the end of 2020.

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In a new report, Parliaments Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee found that other countries were stealing a march in leading the Fourth Industrial Revolution and seizing upon the opportunities for economic growth and jobs.  

Rachel Reeves, Committee Chair, 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. 


MPs singled out the North West's Made Smarter pilot as a success which should be rolled out nationwide.

Too few robots a ‘danger’ to UK economy

UK ranked 22nd in the world in uptake of robots in manufacturing #ukmfg

Recent data from the International Federation of Robotics shows that nearly half a million industrial robots were sold in 2018, up 6 per cent on 2017. 

However, the UK is ranked 22nd in the world and 15th in Europe for its adoption of robots. China is the worlds largest market, ahead of Japan, the US and South Korea. Germany is the fifth largest and the biggest in Europe, followed by France and Italy. 

According to the committees report, more robots in the workplace could greatly boost productivity if introduced fairly, especially in SMEs.  

MPs singled out the Made Smarter pilot in the North West - which supports SMEs with the adoption of the latest digital technology - as a success that should be rolled out nationwide, as part of a new UK Robot and AI Strategy. 

For support and funding to help you introduce digital technologies, find out about Made Smarter UK:


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