Report warns of growing inequality and job risk of automation

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Up to two-thirds of current jobs are at risk of automation by 2030, according to a new report from the think tank IPPR.

The report highlights key facts that will change the way we live in the 2020s, including the risk to 15 million jobs from automation, the increase by a third in the 65+ age group, the shift of half of all companies to emerging markets and a growing bill for adult social care due to demographic changes.

The report forecasts the adult social care funding gap could hit £13 billion – 62% of the expected budget – in 2030/31. It adds that the risk to jobs due to changes in technology could create “an era of widespread abundance, or a second machine age that radically concentrates economic power”. It adds that the income of high-income households is forecast to rise 11 times faster than for low income households in the 2020s and highlights the risk to natural resources of climate change, biodiversity degradation and resource depletion.

It says the risk is of growing inequality, adding that the UK has the richest region in Northern Europe but also nine of the 10 poorest regions.

Mathew Lawrence, IPPR research fellow and report author, said:“By 2030, the effects of Brexit combined with a wave of economic, social and technological change will reshape the UK, in often quite radical ways.

“In the face of this, a politics of nostalgia, institutional conservatism and a rear guard defence of the institutions of 20th century social democracy will be inadequate. For progressives, such a strategy will not be robust enough to mitigate against growing insecurity, ambitious enough to reform Britain’s economic model, nor sufficiently innovative to deliver deeper social and political transformation. They would be left defending sand castles against the tide of history.

“Britain’s progressives should be ambitious, seeking to shape the direction of technological and social change. We must build a ‘high energy’ democracy that accelerates meaningful democratic experimentation at a national, city and local level, and also in the marketplace by increasing everyone’s say over corporate governance, ownership and power.”

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