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Broadening the Future of Work Debate in Parliament

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Just before COVID landed in the UK, we published a UK Resilience Index and analysis on resilience and the future of work  co-authored by Sir Christopher Pissarides and Anna Thomas, in collaboration with Whiteshield Partners and the Said Business School, Oxford.

The research highlights that underneath headline figures of economic resilience, there are structural problems which have given rise to the insecure employment outcomes which have become so pertinent and visible since the pandemic. Our economy is characterised by particularly high levels of labour market polarisation, and growth of atypical work contracts, including but not limited to zero-hours, with a high share of these not entitled to sick pay.

When the pandemic struck, we were able to put this research to use in response to new policy debates about support for workers in the House of Commons. IFOW was one of the first to call for strategic, longer-term planning to #buildbackbetter centred around a vision for good work, available to all; and to make the case that responsible automation should work to support the Government’s commitment to level up, not against it.

Our research was cited in the Early Day Motion ‘Automation and the Future of Work’ which asked the government to initiate a cross-department Work 5.0 Strategy. We gave expert evidence to the DWP Committee on this topic, and were asked by the independent Parliamentary Network to contribute to ‘Just Transitions,' reinforcing our cross-party call for a UK Work 5.0:

"That this House welcomes the Government’s commitment to level up; notes that a coordinated, cross-departmental approach to creating the conditions for good work across the country will be necessary to achieve this goal; recognises research by the Institute for the Future of Work that shows people across the country are experiencing an increased sense of economic insecurity associated with automation; further notes that incentivising the adoption of technology and automation will be required to boost regional growth; notes that a collaborative approach to managing automation and the transition of people into new good jobs is therefore crucial; calls on the Government to initiate a Work 5.0 Strategy involving the Treasury and Departments of Education, Business,Energy and Industrial Strategy, Work and Pensions and Health and Social Care to advance socially responsible automation across the UK; and seeks a commitment and dedicated budget for a collaborative process to develop this strategy."

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