We are living through a transformation in our economy that is unprecedented in its scope and pace, and this presents both exciting opportunities and serious challenges. I am working hard to ensure that as a nation are able to take full advantage of the evolving economic environment. In fact, I’m taking it so serious that I was vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on this so-called ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’. This term describes the wave of new technology and innovative products redefining economies and societies across the world, from driverless cars, artificial intelligence and 3D printers to drone deliveries, thinking computers and internet-connected household devices.
This new investment and tech will drive the development of the new jobs and industries that will future-proof Britain’s economy – our financial future depends on our ability to innovate and lead other countries in this field. I believe that if we can get a grip on the way tech is transforming our lives and the economy we will not only be able to prosper but will we ensure that Labour Party values shape and mould how they impact our work force.
We are also seeing the potential for job creation in the ‘green sector’. A ‘green revolution’ would create more than 400,000 jobs, including 160,000 from the home insulation programme if we seek to increase offshore wind power by seven times, double onshore wind, treble solar panel, and launch a £12.8 billion home insulation programme.
A labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs – the so-called GIG Economy – has grown hugely over the last 10 years. instead of a regular wage, workers get paid for the “gigs” they do, such as a food delivery or a car journey. In the UK it’s estimated that five million people are employed in this type of capacity. And whilst a few people can benefit from this type of work for most, it means they have no protection against unfair dismissal, no right to redundancy payments, and no right to receive the national minimum wage, paid holiday or sickness pay.