Billionaire businessman Sir James Dyson has issued fresh criticism of the prime minister, claiming his pledge to turn the UK into a science and technology superpower is a “mere political slogan”.
The founder and chief engineer of the multinational technology company Dyson also complained – in a letter to The Times – that he has still not met Rishi Sunak, despite being a major entrepreneur in the UK.
“Ministers talk hubristically of Britain becoming a ‘science and technology superpower’ but their woeful policies diminish this to a mere political slogan,” he wrote.
“In the UK, Dyson now faces rocketing corporation tax (wiping out any tax credits for research and development)… and a crippling shortage of qualified engineers.”
James Dyson says growth is ‘a dirty word’ for Rishi Sunak’s government
Jeremy Hunt plans for UK to become a ‘science superpower’
Rishi Sunak vows to make UK ‘science superpower’
Mr Sunak’s ambition of turning the UK into a science superpower post-Brexit has been central to his premiership. A key part of this was the creation of a new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology.
In January, Sir James accused the government of having a “short-sighted” approach to business, warning the prime minister that growth should not be seen as a “dirty word”.
A government spokesperson said that the UK is open for business as an “innovation nation”.
“We boast the biggest tech sector in Europe, reaching a combined market value of £1trn in 2022, we have the lowest corporation tax rate in the G7, and we have world-leading strengths in science and R&D – backed by our £20bn R&D target and introduction of policies like full-expensing,” they said.
“This will spur stronger growth, better jobs and bold new discoveries, bringing together the key technologies of tomorrow like quantum and AI, into a dedicated Department for Science, Innovation and Technology for the first time.”
During Jeremy Hunt’s autumn budget, the UK’s science and technology sector survived a much feared spending cut – but those in the field warned that the government will need to do more to realise the UK’s potential as a “science superpower”.