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Economy 2030 Inquiry presents opportunity to unleash British productivity

21 May 2021

THE NEWLY-launched Economy 2030 Inquiry represents a major opportunity to generate the biggest economic policy change in a generation and could finally hold the key to unleashing British productivity, according to FANUC UK’s managing director, Tom Bouchier.

Bouchier comments: “The past 15 years have witnessed some of the most uncertain economic periods in our history. While recovery has often followed a fall, we cannot ignore the comparatively lethargic rate of productivity versus many of our continental and international peers.

“The newly-launched Economy 2030 Inquiry rightly flags the significant macro issues facing British industry, such as post-COVID recovery, Brexit and the Net Zero transition. However, perhaps its most alarming message is the danger of facing up to these challenges without a significant change in mindset. 

“Automation is fundamental to unlocking the UK’s productivity puzzle, and the attitudes outlined in the report – namely far too little technological change and the persistent worry linked to the changing nature of work – have long been two of the biggest barriers to implementation, along with talent attraction and retention, and funding.

“I very much welcome the report’s acknowledgement over the need to reconcile the two, as we simply cannot be more productive without further automation. However, as a society, we need to de-fear automation and change the narrative around what it actually means. To me, the key point is that automation is designed to replace roles, not jobs. When properly executed, it provides an opportunity upskill an existing workforce, and make their working environment safer, more ergonomic and – I would hope – more rewarding.

“Ultimately, I hope the Economy 2030 Inquiry will succeed in engaging policy makers over the coming months and years, and lead to a tangible change in approach that will unleash British productivity on a scale as yet unseen. The time to act is now, or we risk falling even further behind.”