UK Politics

Theresa May says Dyson is committed 'long-term' to the UK

File image of Sir James Dyson posing with products Image copyright AFP
Image caption Sir James Dyson has been a vocal Brexit supporter

Theresa May has said Dyson remains committed to a long-term future in the UK, despite the appliance maker moving its headquarters to Singapore.

The firm has announced the relocation of two executives but insists no UK jobs will be lost and that work at its Wiltshire sites will be unaffected.

On Wednesday the PM told the Commons: "Dyson are clear they will continue to have a long-term future in the UK."

The company has insisted its decision had nothing to do with Brexit or tax.

Its owner Sir James Dyson has been a vocal supporter of Britain's departure from the EU.

The decision prompted Solicitor General Robert Buckland, South Swindon MP, to say: "I'm disappointed, to say the least, that at this time a company led by a person who advocated Brexit has decided to relocate outside of this country."

Meanwhile, Lib Dem MP Layla Moran, who is part of the Best for Britain campaign to stop Brexit, said the decision smacked of "staggering hypocrisy".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Dyson says it is investing millions in its Malmesbury site

However, during Prime Minister's Questions, North Wiltshire MP James Gray said Dyson's commitment to the UK "remains undiminished", pointing to the investments of £200m in research and development at Hullavington and £44m in a design college at Malmesbury.

"[Sir James is] totally and utterly committed to Great Britain and this announcement yesterday has no effect at all on the commitment," he added.

The PM replied that the company had trebled its UK workforce to 4,800 over the last five years.

Following the relocation announcement, Dyson chief executive Jim Rowan said it would "future proof" the company and allow it to exploit opportunities for growth in Asia.

"We will continue to invest all over the UK," he said, adding that some £31m was being spent on undergraduates at the university on its Malmesbury site.

The firm's full-year results for 2018 showed profits had topped £1bn for the first time, up by 33%, while turnover jumped 28% to £4.4bn.