Inventor James Dyson says he would vote to leave the EU but wants immigration rules relaxed for skilled workers

Dyson to invest �1bn in 100 new products

Inventor Sir James Dyson has pledged to spend £1bn on the research and development of 100 new products over the next four years.

The British entrepreneur, who made his name inventing bagless vacuum cleaners, is also committing £200m towards additional production lines in south-east Asia so that it can increase its manufacturing capacity to 11 million motors a year.

The Wiltshire-based company, which last year produced its millionth machine, moved its manufacturing to Asia a decade ago and 90 per cent of its technology is now sold overseas in more than 70 countries.

Sir James, who is chairman of the company he founded in 1993, said: "Our growth is fuelled by technology and we are thinking long term.

"Ninety per cent of our technology is sold abroad, we're quickly growing across Asia, and it's phenomenal to think that we are now number one in the home of technology – Japan. It is like selling coal to Newcastle.

"But we must relentlessly invent – that's why we are investing in our research footprint here in the UK and investing in our manufacturing capabilities in south-east Asia."

The spending is on top of a previously announced plan for a £250m campus expansion at the company’s Malmesbury site, which will create 3,000 jobs and will see the first new research building housing R&D labs for the development of future technologies open in early 2016.

Dyson is currently recruiting 300 people to join its team of more than 2,000 engineers and scientists, while it is also planning to extend its external research programme with universities by another £50m.

Dyson works with over 30 universities to develop early-stage technologies, including a £5m investment in a joint robotics lab with Imperial College London, and in fluid mechanics at the University of Cambridge.

Asked if he was worried about hostility to immigration, Sir James told BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme: "I am in the sense that we do need to keep certain people here who come to our universities.

"They come to our universities because they like Britain. They want to study engineering and science and develop new technology in Britain and I think we should encourage them to stay here so I would change our immigration laws to allow the right sort of people to stay here – people we desperately need."

Questioned if he wanted to stay in the European Union, Sir James said: "Not particularly, no, because I think it's a European Union dominated by Germany and in our particular field we have these large German companies who dominate standard setting and energy reduction committees, and so we get the old guard and old technology supported and not new technology."

He said he would vote to leave the EU, adding: "I want to keep Efta, European free trade, and free movement of people but I don't see that we need to be dominated and bullied by the Germans."

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