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Analysis: Tory ‘red wall’ seats to be hit hard by automation over the next decade

February 12th, 2020

32% of jobs in constituencies won by the Conservative Party in ex-Labour heartlands, the so-called ‘redwall seats’, are at risk of automation by the early 2030s. Nationally, 30% of jobs are at risk of automation with the greatest predicted job losses in retail, manufacturing, and transport.

The think tank estimates that a total of 8 million jobs across Great Britain are at risk of automation over the next ten years and calls for the Government to consider measures to protect communities, including training for jobs in the renewable energy sector, the relocation of the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) from London to the North, taxation reform, and improved infrastructure.

Key findings:

  • The effects of automation will be unevenly spread across the country. In the so-called ‘red wall’ constituencies won by the Conservative Party in the 2019 General Election, 32% of jobs are predicted to be automated by the early 2030s, compared to the national average of 30%.
  • 8 million jobs in Great Britain are at risk of automation by the early 2030s.
  • The industries which will be most affected are retail (1.2m jobs at risk), manufacturing (1.1m jobs at risk), and transport (800k jobs at risk).
  • The ‘red wall’ seat of Heywood and Middleton is predicted to be hit the hardest nationally, with an estimated 39% of jobs at risk of automation.

Anna Pick, Researcher at Future Advocacy and co-author of the report, said: 

“The task of ‘levelling up’ Britain is only going to be made harder by the oncoming decade of automation. Our report projects that almost a third of existing jobs could be automated by 2030. We must ensure that communities, particularly those in towns and rural areas across the Midlands and the North of England, do not suffer as a result. The government needs to double down on efforts to create jobs, boost skills, and improve infrastructure.”

Projected impact of automation by the early 2030s – Heatmap

Download Automation and Britain’s New Political Landscape here.