Billionaire Sir James Dyson moves residency back to the UK

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High-profile businessman Sir James Dyson has moved his residency back to the UK from Singapore.

He now lives primarily in the UK according to filings for his companies, which include his family office.

Sir James had faced criticism after he announced that he would relocate his firm’s global head office to Singapore in 2019.

This week he was also involved in a controversy over texting Prime Minister Boris Johnson about tax issues.

A Dyson spokesman declined to comment on Sir James’ residence and tax status but did say: “The structure of the group and the business rationale underpinning it are unaltered.”

“Singapore is, and remains, the global headquarters of Dyson, our leadership team is based here and it is the centre of our sales, engineering and manufacturing operations,” he said.

A prominent supporter of Brexit with an estimated fortune of more than $20bn, Sir James was criticised after the announcement in 2019 that Dyson was moving its headquarters to Singapore from Malmesbury in Wiltshire.

At the time, the company said just two senior executives would be relocated and no jobs would be lost in the UK as a result of the move.

media captionStarmer: Is it right to change tax rules for Dyson?

Sir James has this week been at the centre of a political row in Britain after it was revealed that he texted Boris Johnson in March last year to get assurance that his staff would not face a change in their tax situation if they came to the UK to help make ventilators in response to Covid-19.

The texts – seen by the BBC – show Mr Johnson saying he could “fix” tax issues relating to Dyson staff who came to the UK to work on the pandemic.

But the prime minister’s official spokesman said Mr Johnson had abided by the ministerial code, governing conduct in office, and had “informed officials in a timely manner” after his contact with Sir James.

Labour has called for a “thorough investigation” into Mr Johnson’s contacts with Sir James.

media captionSir James Dyson says leaving the EU has given the UK “freedom of spirit”

When Sir James announced Dyson would move its global headquarters, he was accused of hypocrisy, after arguing in the run-up to the Brexit referendum that the UK would gain more from leaving the EU than it would lose.

However, in a recent interview with the BBC, he said: “We’re a British company – I’ve put a lot into this country.

“I can’t make things here and bring over all the components from the Far East here, assemble them here and then send them back to the Far East. That just doesn’t work.”

Earlier this month, Dyson announced plans to create 200 new jobs at its research facilities in Malmesbury and Hullavington, Wiltshire.

The plans are part of a £2.75bn global investment plan into emerging technologies and products.

Sir James said the end of the UK’s transition period with the EU had enabled Dyson to hire the engineering talent it was lacking in the UK.

Freedom of movement between the UK and EU has ended and the government has introduced a points-based immigration system which it says “treats all applicants equally, regardless of where they come from”.

However, some argue that UK companies who want to hire from outside the EU are in no better position than before Brexit, while attempts to hire EU workers now face significant costs and administration that did not exist before.