Amid broad concern surrounding UK’s economic future after Brexit, tech company Dyson is planning a substantial expansion in the UK. The company will build a new, 517 acre campus in Hullavington, Wiltshire, as part of a 2.5 billion pound investment towards the development of new battery and robotics technology. The move represents a further expression of confidence in the results of the Brexit referendum, from James Dyson, one of the most visible supporters of Brexit in the business community, before the referendum in June.
PM Theresa May said “This investment is a vote of confidence in our modern industrial strategy and our determination to cement the UK’s position as a world leader in high-tech engineering. Dyson’s exporting strength and commitment to creating jobs in Britain is a real success story that demonstrates the opportunity that our plan to create a truly global Britain can present.”
The move comes during uncertain times for the business world in the UK, with BMW weighing whether to build its new electric Minis in Germany instead of its Oxford factory, and with potential job losses on the horizon if PSA Group completes a purchase of General Motors’ business in Europe.
Dyson has grown from its origins focusing on bagless vacuum cleaners to multinational enterprise offering air purifiers, bladeless fans, hairdryers, hand-dryers, and robotic vacuum cleaners. James Dyson himself refuted claims of economic uncertainty in the UK, emphasizing that Brexit would not stop him from investing.
“We have got the opportunity to export globally – Europe is only 15% of global trade and declining. The world outside Europe is expanding faster than Europe, and that is the same for Dyson,” said Dyson.
He also described the UK as a “great place to do business” thanks to low corporate tax rates, a highly skilled workforce, and a decline of the pound against the Euro and Dollar. “These are far more important elements than any WTO [World Trade Organization] tariffs,” he added.
Dyson said the facility would work “a lot on batteries and a lot of other top secret work,” when asked if driverless cars would be developed there. The facility will begin its first phase of development next week.
“The 517-acre Hullavington campus is an investment for our future, creating a global hub for our research and development endeavors. It will enable us to continue creating world class products and jobs right here in the Cotswolds,” Dyson said.
Dyson’s UK workforce has tripled over the last five years, while sales have doubled. The company reported 1.7 billion pounds of revenue in 2015.