West Midlands has “unmatched potential” to lead UK robotics adoption, business leader says

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John Mills, founder of cross-party think tank Institute for Prosperity, has said the West Midlands can once again become the beating heart of the UK’s economy, but only if its manufacturers are quick to adopt robotics and automation, and the right support from government is given.

During a keynote speech last week, Mills noted that investment in technology would help manufacturers become more profitable, as well as bring jobs and growth to the West Midlands. He stressed that in order for the economy to grow, there needs to be an exchange rate that makes manufacturing in the UK competitive again.

“Britain used to be the workshop of the world, and the West Midlands was a key part of that. Manufacturing businesses have shut up and down the country, and it’s in no small part due to the lack of investment in mechanisation and new technology,” Mills noted.

“The government must do everything in their power to reverse this and increase the amount of goods made in Britain. With so many vital UK manufacturers based here, and with businesses across the country slow to adopt these new technologies, the West Midlands has the opportunity to become the jewel in Britain’s crown again when it comes to production.

“If we invest in technology, mechanisation, and power in the Midlands, then the region has unmatched potential to lead the UK in the sector. We need to shake the perception that automation means less jobs. Instead, new jobs and opportunities will replace mundane tasks, and businesses here will grow, once again bringing well-paid jobs and prosperity back to the West Midlands.”

The West Midlands plays host to a number of manufacturing companies and research institutions. According to the West Midlands Growth Company, the region is at the centre of the UK’s engineering and manufacturing sectors, employing 113,600 people in 5,250 companies.

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