Taxing robots will not protect jobs, report says

A report published by the Centre for Policy Studies in the UK argues that taxing robots would not protect jobs, and that calls for a universal basic income are premature. Titled ‘Why Britain needs more robots’, the report looks at the connection between automation and jobs and employment in the UK, and notes that it is unlikely that net employment will fall as a result of mechanisation, and the UK is at lower risk that other developed countries. Imposing taxes on robots is seen as an impeding mechanism which would suppress productivity growth, depress wage growth, and encourage economic activity to locate elsewhere. At the same time, a universal basic income would distort the labour market. The report notes, however, that there are reasons to be concerned about automation potentially leading to growing income inequality, and underlines that reforming skills and training is the best approach in addressing such concerns.