Is AI the answer to UK’s productivity problem?


Paul Schofield, practice senior partner at Deloitte in Cambridge, comments on the Autumn Budget: “With the OBR downgrading the outlook for UK productivity, the Chancellor is hoping improving digital and construction skills will provide a much-needed boost.

“The announcement of a National Retraining Scheme (NRP), in partnership with the TUC and CBI, is a great example of how collaboration between government and business can help address some of the country’s most critical economic and social issues.

“The NRP will target sectors with skills shortages, such as construction and digital, with a £30 million fund to test AI and fund EdTech in online digital skills courses.

“Our research has shown that businesses need more people with digital know-how, with a third of UK business leaders expecting AI to disrupt their industries. Yet businesses also told us they need workers with skills such as complex problem solving, creativity and emotional intelligence – AI will have the greatest impact when it is seen as a complement to human skills, not a replacement for them.

“The surest antidote to low productivity is investment in the skills of the future. Today’s focus on training is good step on the road to a high growth, high wage economy.”


The Deloitte Cambridge office comprises 8 Partners and over 250 staff who deliver a full range of professional services to the East Anglian region. As well as focussing on the life sciences and technology sectors for which the region has become so renowned, the office has long standing specialisms in other sectors including the professions, consumer business, food and agribusiness.

Deloitte LLP