The first Report by my Manpower Research Unit on the future pattern of employment in broad sectors of the economy will, amongst other factors, deal briefly with the effects of automation. It will be published towards the end of next month. Other studies of manpower in particular industries are expected to be published later in the year. The series of case studies of the effect of technological change on human relations which are being carried out by my Department on behalf of O.E.C.D. are also nearing completion.
Can my right hon. Friend give any indication of the likely effects of automation on employment over the next ten years, and does he think that some of the fears which are being expressed in some quarters about this advancement are a little over-done?
I was making a speech on this subject in Geneva only last night. It is of the greater importance that we should get this into the right perspective. The best indications that we can get are that, with the need for manpower at present, the degree of automation over the next five to ten years will be a help in meeting our requirements rather than in leading to widespread redundancy.