Friday, 21 November 2014 14:35

Let's leave Germany-dominated EU, says Sir James Dyson Featured

Written by Gazette & Herald - Malmesbury
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Inventor Sir James Dyson has reiterated he wants Britain to leave the European Union, as he pledged to spend £1bn on research and development.

The entrepreneur's Malmesbury-based firm Dyson is committing the money on 100 new products over the next four years, as well as a further £200million towards additional production lines in south-east Asia so that it can increase its manufacturing capacity to 11 million motors a year.

The spending is on top of a previously-announced plan for a £250million campus expansion at its Malmesbury site, creating 3,000 jobs.

But Sir James, who is chairman of the company he founded in 1993, again expressed concerns about how the EU operates - adding Britain did not need to be "dominated and bullied by the Germans".

Questioned if he wanted to stay in the EU, Sir James told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Not particularly, no, because I think it's a European Union dominated by Germany and in our particular field we have these large German companies who dominate standard setting and energy reduction committees, and so we get the old guard and old technology supported and not new technology."

He said he would vote to leave the EU, adding: "I want to keep Efta, European free trade, and free movement of peoples but I don't see that we need to be dominated and bullied by the Germans."

Responding to Sir James's comments on Europe, Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said: "A very important part of the EU reform agenda is around competitiveness and flexibility.

"Does the Prime Minister agree with business organisations, including the CBI, and business people who say we need reform in the EU? That's precisely what the Prime Minister wants to see in terms of greater competitiveness."

Sir James also said Britain's immigration laws should be changed to allow the "right sort of people to stay here".

He said people coming to the UK to study engineering and science, plus those wanting to develop new technology, should be encouraged to remain.

His comments emerged after details of Dyson's future investment were announced.

The first new research building is due to open in early 2016 and will house laboratories for research and development into future technologies.

Dyson is currently recruiting 300 people to join its team of more than 2,000 engineers and scientists, while it is also planning to extend its external research programme with universities by another £50million.

Dyson works with over 30 universities to develop early-stage technologies, including a £5million investment in a joint robotics lab with Imperial College London, and in fluid mechanics at the University of Cambridge.

Sir James said: "Our growth is fuelled by technology and we are thinking long term.

"Ninety per cent of our technology is sold abroad, we're quickly growing across Asia, and it's phenomenal to think that we are now number one in the home of technology - Japan. It is like selling coal to Newcastle.

"But we must relentlessly invent - that's why we are investing in our research footprint here in the UK and investing in our manufacturing capabilities in south-east Asia."

Dyson, which last year produced its millionth machine, moved its manufacturing to Asia a decade ago.

The company is best known for inventing bagless cleaners and bladeless fans, with 90% of its technology now sold overseas in more than 70 countries.

Authors: Gazette & Herald - Malmesbury

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