Sir James Dyson, in a report commissioned by the Conservative Party, has recommended a vast overhaul of the UK manufacturing and technology businesses.
Sir James is most widely recognised for his vacuum cleaner, but is an accomplished inventor in other areas and has a string of other innovative projects to his name, like the ‘bladeless fan’ or ‘Air Multiplier’.
In his report ‘Ingenious Britain’ Dyson is calling for more emphasis to be placed on science and technology in schools. He claims that the current atmosphere around health and safety is preventing schoolchildren undertaking experiment and that this should be reversed so as to give children proper hands on exposure to science.
He also wants the government to “get on with” big projects like nuclear power stations and high speed rail instead of engaging in “endless bickering” and getting nothing done.
Si James also points out that nearly 70% of Research and Development tax credits end up in the hands of the service industry, notably the banks. He, like the Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, wants this to stop but Dyson wants this money plus more re-directed into the hands of high technology developers.
He also wants more tax breaks for technology across the spectrum as well as higher pay and status for technology graduates and greater help for science studies.
A decade or so ago it seems that we in the UK thought that we could make our future by holding, controlling and being innovative with other peoples’ money. That little project has come severely unstuck. Let’s hope that Sir James Dyson’s ideas are grasped and acted upon by the next government but importantly, with some balance. After all, we wouldn’t want all our eggs in the one technology basket would we?