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A COMPETITIVE BRITAIN IS A HIGH TECH BRITAIN

08 Mar 10. James Dyson calls for education reforms and greater research and development tax credits to make Britain Europe’s leading high tech exporter

James Dyson is urging government to support science and engineering before Britain loses its international competitiveness and slides further into the red.

In the “Ingenious Britain” report, Dyson targets culture, education, universities and research and development – aiming to make Britain Europe’s leading high tech exporter.

Last October, David Cameron asked James Dyson to help the Conservatives reawaken Britain’s innate inventiveness and creativity. James, with the support and advice of some of the UK’s most esteemed UK industry and academic leaders, has developed policy recommendations aimed at influencing the agenda of future government.

James Dyson said: “We need to inspire and enlighten people: science and engineering can change lives, society and the economy. High tech exports create real wealth and jobs, and will help set us on a course for sustainable prosperity. If we don’t capitalise on our engineering expertise now they’ll be no turning back.

“Change must start with the Government. We in Britain have brilliant minds, a world renowned university system, and a base of ingenious, specialist technology companies. We need to build on this success: encouraging more people to become engineers and scientists by developing a cultural attitude and education system that encourages and nurtures new talent. Then we need to harness their ideas and turn them into products the world wants.”

Dyson’s report looks at:

Culture: The UK’s science, engineering and manufacturing base has been neglected for decades. As result they are undervalued and misunderstood. Government can change attitudes through encouraging research, delivering skills and backing significant infrastructure projects. It must make early and bold decisions on large scale engineering projects to demonstrate Britain’s high tech ability.

Education: Science, Design and Technology in schools have been marginalised and the UK is not producing enough scientists and engineers. We need to encourage more people to take up these subjects – and produce the best teachers to inspire them. Government should make teacher recruitment more flexible and encourage independent schools to share there expertise and experience with state schools.

Universities: Globally, the UK excels at university based research, but a disjointed system means that little of our blue skies research is shared or used commercially by UK companies. Government should seek to reform how universities are funded and assessed to give them the flexibility to provide what students and companies want – such as shorter courses with industry experience.

Financing start-ups: There is not enough entrepreneurial finance available to fund innovative UK companies. This has been exacerbated by the global recession. Government must use the power of government guarantees to encourage lenders to extend credit to small, inventive businesses.

Supporting high tech companies: If the UK is to compete and prosper as Europe’s leading technology exporter, we need to increase R&D investment. Tax credits must be refocused onto high tech companies, small businesses and new start-ups in order to stimulate a new wave of technology. When the public finances allow, the rate should be increased to 200%. The claim process must also be streamlined. These changes need not necessarily lead to a higher overall cost to the exchequer.

Dyson Taskforce – Statements of support:

Sir John Rose, Chief Executive Rolls-Royce: “James Dyson has done an excellent job in identifying some of the steps the UK needs to take to rebalance its economy. To be successful we must ensure that our education system produces the skills required to support high value manufacturing and services. It is also important to recognise that governments have a direct role to play in sh

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