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How the rising minimum wage could lead to more automation

According to the IFS, employers could respond to a rising cost of labour by switching to machines—but it’s not guaranteed

By Agnes Norris Keiller  

Robotic arms rivet car panels together. As the minimum wage goes up, more and more of us could see our jobs automated. Photo: Matt Crossick/Matt Crossick/Empics Entertainment

The minimum wage is rising rapidly. In 2015 4 per cent of employees aged 25 and over were on the legal minimum hourly wage of £6.70. Since then, George Osborne’s “national living wage” (NLW) policy has raised the wage floor to £7.50 and it is planned to reach 60 per cent of median wages in 2020 (£8.56 under current forecasts of wage…

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