Warning that automation could deepen regional divisions

Manufacturers need to be mindful of the impact that automation will have on their business and the wider economy, a recent report suggested.

The industry has been watching intently to identify possible advantages to be drawn from the latest technological advances.

But hopes that these innovations will improve productivity and streamline business models are offset by concerns that automation could cost a considerable number of jobs.

While roles in sectors such as retail and customer service are arguably in greatest jeopardy, new developments will inevitably impact on manufacturing companies as well.

And it appears the effect will be disproportionately felt in certain regions. Outside the South of England, around a quarter of jobs could be put at risk by technological developments –which is rather higher than the 18 per cent of roles threatened in the London area.

The Centre for Cities think tank, which has prepared a comprehensive report into the possible implications in different parts of the country, was fearful that developments could lead to ever deeper divisions.

Andrew Carter, the think tank’s chief executive, said: “In an ever more divided country, it’s increasingly clear that a one-size-fits-all approach from central government is inadequate to address the myriad issues that different places face.”

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