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Growth should not be seen as dirty word, Sir James Dyson warns Sunak

Billionaire businessman Sir James Dyson has warned Rishi Sunak that growth should not be seen as a “dirty word”, accusing the Government of a “short-sighted” approach to business.

The founder and chief engineer of Singapore-based multinational technology company Dyson used an article in the Telegraph newspaper to call on Mr Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt to use the spring budget to “incentivise private innovation and demonstrate its ambition for growth”.

The intervention comes as the Government pledges to halve inflation by the end of the year, as Mr Sunak and his Chancellor seek to balance the books and restore credibility to the UK’s finances.

Prime Minister’s Questions
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt (UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor)

The Prime Minister has faced pressure from some backbenchers over tax rises, following the autumn statement last year.

Mr Dyson, whose company employs 3,500 people in the UK, wrote: “Hard work and sacrifice should be a vote winner, not an electoral liability. But growth has become a dirty word and an idea too risky to contemplate.

“We can turn things around, but only if fast-growing companies are allowed to thrive here. And we will have to act fast – it’s a global race and our competitors are hungry.

“The Government has a role to play. Starting with the spring Budget in March, it must incentivise private innovation and demonstrate its ambition for growth.”

Repeating his concern over working from home policies, he said: “The Government took control of employees from companies during the Covid-19 pandemic by ordering them to stay at home. They have yet to direct them to return. This has badly damaged the country’s work ethic.

“I believe it is not too late for Britain to shake off its Covid inertia. There are sensible policies, such as research and development tax credits, that encourage investment in the UK and the creation of high-value jobs and careers.

“But the Government seems intent on moving in the opposite direction with the introduction of suffocating regulation, greater interference with business, and thinking it can impose tax upon tax on companies in the belief that penalising the private sector is a free win at the ballot box.

“This is as short-sighted as it is stupid. In the global economy, companies will simply choose to transfer jobs and invest elsewhere. Our country has an illustrious history of enterprise and innovation, born of a culture which we are in the process of extinguishing. We have got through the worst of Covid, but risk wasting the recovery.”