THE UK Government is being urged to intervene to ensure that the growing use of robots in the workplace does not result in rising levels of inequality across Britain as new analysis suggests automation could account for a third of all jobs in the future.

A report published today by the Institute for Public Policy Research think-tank also argues that the country is not heading towards a “post human” economy but, rather, jobs are likely to be reallocated rather than eliminated altogether.

“Managing Automation” says increasing automation has the potential to deliver a powerful boost to the productivity of UK business, bringing a future of "economic plenty".

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Yet it warns that unless the change is properly managed by the Government, there is a danger that the benefits will be "narrowly" concentrated in the hands of investors and small numbers of highly-skilled workers while the rest lose out.

The report estimates that jobs generating wages of £290 billion a year - representing a third of all wages and earnings from labour in the UK economy - have the potential to be undertaken by robots.

Rejecting the notion that the UK is heading for a "post human" economy, it argues how most jobs are likely to be "reallocated" rather than scrapped as output increases and new sources of wealth are created.

As a result, the IPPR analysis claims the biggest challenge for ministers will be to ensure that the rewards of automation are fairly distributed.

"Without effective management from the Government, inequality is likely to increase because of unequal ownership of capital and highly-skilled workers being able to command higher wages and better jobs," explains the think-tank.

The report notes how some jobs will be more susceptible to automation than others.

For example, it suggests work in accommodation and food services has, at 63 per cent, the highest susceptibility to robotics. Transport is put at 58 per cent, manufacturing at 49 per cent while information and communication is placed at just 23 per cent.

Similarly, the report says some parts of the UK will have jobs, which will be more susceptible to automation than others.

London has the lowest susceptibility rating with 39 per cent of jobs risk of automation, Scotland is placed at 46 per cent while Northern Ireland and north east England are given the highest rate of 48 per cent.

The report states: “There is evidence to suggest that the impact of automation will be geographically concentrated and may accentuate existing regional inequalities.

“Our analysis shows that, on average, jobs in London and the South East are more resilient to complete automation than those in the rest of the country. Whereas 39 per cent of jobs have a high potential to be automated in London…48 per cent are at high risk in the north east and Northern Ireland.

“These areas already have lower levels of employment than the national average, so higher levels of job losses as a result of automation may serve to undermine demand, increase unemployment, and exacerbate existing regional inequalities.”

The report also found workers with lower skill levels were more at risk of complete automation of their jobs and that more men’s jobs than women’s were threatened by greater use of robots.

Among the IPPR’s proposals is a call for the creation of a new authority for the ethical use of robotics and artificial intelligence to regulate the future use of automating technologies.

Mathew Lawrence, senior research fellow at the think-tank, said: "Despite the rhetoric of the rise of the robots, machines aren't about to take all our jobs. A bigger challenge is arguably the effect of automation on inequality in the UK.

"Managed badly, the benefits of automation could be narrowly concentrated, benefiting those who own capital and highly skilled workers. Inequality would spiral.

"Managed well though, with a strategy to increase adoption of technologies in the everyday economy and new models of ownership to spread the benefits, automation could help create a future of shared economic plenty," he added.