John McDonnel has said that short-term profiteering and lack of investment has left Britain’s economy dangerously unprepared for the fourth industrial revolution that centres on emerging technologies.

The shadow chancellor was speaking ahead of a protest outside London’s Royal Exchange yesterday calling for financial sector reform.

He said: “I’m worried that the City of London isn’t listening and what we have is a system whereby the productive elements of the economy that are creating wealth are being diverted into property speculation and not addressing the real need and the fundamentals of our economy.

“We’re facing the fourth industrial revolution and we’ve got the lowest investment in robots in the G7, and we’re still not investing in the schools we need.

“We need to harness the resources of the finance sector in this country to make sure it’s invested in long-term, patient, stable investment — and I’m not seeing that happen.”

He said among his biggest concerns for Britain’s future were household debt and the fact that wages are still below the level they were in 2010.

The last of Lehman Brothers staff in Britain will be let go this month, 10 years after the bank’s disastrous collapse helped trigger the global financial crisis.

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