Sir James Dyson.
Billionaire inventor James Dyson has downplayed the impact of a hard Brexit on the UK, The Guardian reports.
Speaking at the launch of a new Dyson education initiative, the entrepreneur behind the famous Dyson hoovers said it would not be a “catastrophe” if the UK can’t agree a deal to remain a part of the European single market.
He said that economists who warned the UK economy would struggle if the nation voted to leave the EU have already been proved wrong.
“They told us there would be an immediate catastrophe, and there hasn’t been,” said Dyson, who emerged as a supporter of Brexit in the run up to the referendum on June 23. “I don’t see why there should be, either. Nothing has changed, has it? The worst that could happen is a small tariff going to Europe.
“We are very fond of Europe as a market, but there are very exciting markets outside Europe. So I hope we do a deal with Europe. But it’s not a catastrophe if we don’t.”
His comments came as he announced the new Dyson Institute of Technology, which will offer engineering degrees at the firm’s head office in Wiltshire, south-west England, and be backed with £15 million of Dyson’s money over the next five years.
“I have complained to every secretary of state for education and every secretary of state for BIS [business, innovation and skills] for the last 20 years, saying there aren’t enough engineering graduates,” Dyson said. “I went and complained to Jo Johnson [the universities minister], and he said, ‘Well, why don’t you do a university?’ I had never thought of it and it was quite a bold suggestion.”
Dyson announced a new £299 hair dryer earlier this year.
The academic facility — being run in conjunction with the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick — is set to open in September. All of the students that enroll through the institution will be funded by Dyson and offered a full-time graduate job at the end of their four-year course. Dyson hopes that the institution will help Britain to create more engineers.
Dyson said one of his main motives for backing Brexit is to ensure that Britain can potentially attract more engineers from beyond Europe. He has been lobbying government for an Australian style visa system that allows engineer, scientists and university students to receive automatic visas.
“At the moment we have to get visas that take about four months for anyone outside the EU, which is a painful process and probably puts some people off,” he said. “With the university, that won’t be an issue under the current rules, but they might change. I will be badgering the government all the time that we need these people.”
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