Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Workers in Region Fear Rise of Robots, Warns MP

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Workers in Region Fear Rise of Robots, Warns MP

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN WALKER Political Editor jon.walker@trinitymirror.com

NORTH East workers "live in fear" that a robot will take their job.

That is the view of MP Chi Onwurah, who said the government needed a plan to deal with the threat of jobs being lost.

Speaking in the House of Commons, she highlighted research from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) - an economic body backed by governments across the world.

Ms Onwurah, Labour MP for Newcastle Central, said: "Many of my constituents live in fear of the rise of the robots, which could result in fewer jobs.

"OECD research shows that 25% of workers could see the majority of their work automated in the next 10 years."

Consultants Deloitte warned earlier this year that more than 11 million British workers could be replaced by robots in the next two decades.

It published a report saying a huge proportion of British jobs would be automated by 2036.

Shop assistants and other retail staff were named as the employees most at risk, but all sorts of roles would be affected.

Middle class and professional roles which had previously been immune from the threat of automation will increasingly be at risk, as doctors, lawyers, managers and academics find they are no longer needed because computers and robots can do their jobs better and at lower cost.

There is disagreement about how many jobs are threatened.

A paper by Oxford academics Michael Osborne and Carl Frey for Deloitte said 35% of jobs were at risk, more than a third, while a new study by the OECD in May this year said the real figure might be much lower at just 9%, or around one in 10 jobs.

Ms Onwurah said the government should draw up a strategy for digital industries, adding: "I want this government to be proactive and to use technology to help create more jobs for people across the country. …

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