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Sir James Dyson claims Rishi Sunak's science superpower pledge is hot air

Sir James Dyson claims Rishi Sunak's science superpower pledge is hot air

Tech firm Dyson employs 3,500 people in the UK, but its chief executive Sir James has warned against a "crippling shortage" of qualified engineers.
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."

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".
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