Jeremy Corbyn plans to hit businesses using robots to replace human with a ‘robot tax’ , as he believes automation threatens workers.
The Labour leader is expected to make his announcement later today at his party conference keynote speech, suggesting a new set of taxes should be put in place for those businesses embracing automation.
Corbyn believes robots and artificial intelligence (AI) are a ‘threat’ to workers, due to the technology destroying millions of jobs over the next few years, by ‘managing’ robotic technology to benefit all of society.
He believes those big technology companies such as Google and Amazon making millions using the technology, should share benefits with society. Therefore, from the extra tax paid by companies using robotics, Corbyn would like to use the extra money to establish a fund that will retrain staff that lose their jobs.
At the conference in Brighton, Corbyn is expected to say: “We need to urgently to face the challenge of automation; robotics that could make so much of contemporary work redundant. That is a threat in the hands of the greedy, but what an opportunity if it’s managed in the interests of society as a whole.”
His new ‘policy’ will make up an element of a wider plan described by Corbyn as the “New Common Sense”.
As Labour looks to impose ‘robot tax’ on those technology companies developing robotics and automation, Corbyns new idea is expected to bring some concerns to the room, described by Conservatives as a ‘mad’ to tax innovation attempt.
Also expected to be outlined at the conference, is Corbyn’s expectation of technology future, he said: “If planned and managed properly, accelerated technology change can be the gateway for a new settlement between work and leisure, a springboard for expanded creativity and culture, making technology our servant not our master.”
The new tax implementation suggestion comes as more and more businesses seek robotics and automation to better the efficiency and workload in businesses. There has been more speculation that robots will replace workers in certain areas such as administration, policing and even some doctors.
Dean Withey, CEO at ubisend, said: “I agree with Corbyn that both businesses and their staff should reap rewards by investing in training. After all, being a ‘smart’ employee will soon not be good enough — in some senses of the word, machines are already smarter. It’s time to re-skill employees in more human traits.
“Machines can deal with the mundane and routine, enabling staff to concentrate on the complex, more human, part of their role. Economists, sociologists and politicians need to engage with AI leaders to educate and prepare. It is going to require the very best of human skill and cooperation to get the right results from AI.”
Jeremy Corbyn is due to deliver his conference speech at 12:15pm today.