Cross-sector calls for more government support

Posted on 16 Aug 2011 by The Manufacturer

Dyson, the vacuum cleaner manufacturer, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce have joined forces to call on the Government to increase efforts to provide SMEs with more incentives to innovate.

CEO of the Wiltshire-based manufacturer, James Dyson, called on the Coalition to step up its efforts to give companies more support by investing in innovation and R&D. He also asked for a bigger focus on industrial education in schools to try and generate interest in manufacturing and engineering earlier on in young people’s lives.

As well as Dyson, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce both warned the Government that British manufacturing would suffer if it did not invest more in R&D and education. The chief executive of Rolls-Royce, John Rishton, raised concerns about the education system, saying that producing enough qualified engineers and technicians for industry remained a long-term issue.

Dyson’s remarks came after reporting an 8% increase in profits to £206m last year, after revenues rose 15% to £770m. Speaking to The Guardian, chief executive Martin McCourt said: “We just need to offer some relief, better tax credits, and give companies some kind of incentive. That’s the key to keeping manufacturing businesses successful on the world stage.”

Dyson is famous for the number of products that are sold in countries outside of the UK – around 80%. Although all Dyson products are manufactured in South East Asia, the R&D Centre in Malmesbury, Wiltshire employs 550 people. The company spends a relatively large amount on R&D – last year it spent £45m.

On the subject of skills, McCourt was very clear that as a company, Dyson believed the Government’s approach to increasing the number of skilled engineers in the UK needs to focus on schools.

George Archer