“Taxing robots would not protect jobs”, claims CPS

Opposition-led calls for a “tax on robots” have been shut down by a new report, which highlights the potential for growth and productivity by adding even more robots to the workforce.

The Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), which published the report, said taxing robots would suppress productivity growth, wages, and encourage economic activity to locate elsewhere.

It follows plans set out by Labour leader Jeremey Corbyn, which would involve taxing robots in order to create a fund to retrain staff who lose their jobs because of new technologies.

However, the UK’s problem is having “too few robots, not too many”, the CPS report claimed.

For example, it found that the UK has 71 robots for every 10,000 employees in manufacturing, compared to Germany which has 300.

Daniel Mahoney, Head of Economic Research at the CPS, said: “It is unlikely that net employment will fall as a result of mechanisation – and the UK is at lower risk than other developed nations.”

He added: “Taxing robots would not protect jobs. On the contrary, impeding mechanisation would further suppress productivity growth, depress wage growth and encourage economic activity to locate elsewhere – thereby reducing the tax base to pay for public services.”