James Dyson accuses Rishi Sunak of not ‘going for growth’ as UK at risk of recession

Sir James Dyson has lashed out at Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt, accusing the government of not “going for growth”.

The billionaire inventor said wealth generation and growth have become “dirty words” under the prime minister and chancellor’s leadership.

And he heaped praise on predecessors Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, saying he “thought they were doing the right thing”.

Sir James, who made his fortune with the invention of the bagless vacuum cleaner, said Britain is now too focused on tackling inflation rather than growing the economy.

“If you get inflation down and kill growth, I think you’re in trouble,” he said.

He added: “I’m disappointed we’re not going for growth.”

Sir James Dyson said he is ‘disappointed’ Britain is not ‘going for growth’

(PA Wire)

The Brexit backer said his criticism was also aimed at Labour under Sir Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves.

It comes a day after revised official figures showed the UK economy performing worse than previously thought. In a blow to Mr Sunak, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) downgraded its estimates of Britain’s economic performance this year.

It said gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.1 per cent in the three months to September, down from an earlier estimate that it had flatlined.

And it said from April to June Britain experienced no GDP growth at all, compared with an earlier estimate of a 0.2 per cent rise.

After the figures, Richard Carter, head of fixed interest research at Quilter Cheviot, said: “Growth is weakening and interest rates are really beginning to bite, and while a recession has just been avoided to date, there is no guarantee one will be avoided in 2024.”

He added that “Rishi Sunak’s pledge to grow the economy is now severely in doubt”.

And Martin Beck, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: “October’s decline in GDP, the growing drag from past rises in interest rates, and industrial action holding back activity in some sectors mean the economy in the fourth quarter is likely to flatline at best, with a technical recession a serious possibility.”

UK inflation fell to 3.9 per cent in November, its lowest level for more than two years driven by a fall in fuel prices.

Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt have been criticised over Britain’s flatlining economy

(Getty Images)

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Sir James said: “I’m disappointed we’re not going for growth… I’ve made that plain.

“I was hopeful [with Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng]. I thought they were doing the right thing – I’m the only one who did. Kwarteng wasn’t raising taxes. He was going for growth, which I think is the right thing. It allows us to pay for things and generates wealth.”

Mr Kwarteng was sacked by Ms Truss in the dying days of her ill-fated premiership after his unfunded tax cuts saw the Pound tank and the price of mortgages and government debt surge.

She went on to resign as PM just days later amid the fallout from last autumn’s disastrous so-called mini budget.

Sir James went on: “Wealth generation and growth became dirty words. I’ve always believed that inflation isn’t quite the enemy everyone thinks it is. If you’ve got growth, a bit of inflation doesn’t matter. If you get inflation down and kill growth, I think you’re in trouble.”

And he said Britain is lacking enthusiasm for “wealth creators” compared with the US.

A Treasury spokesman said: “The UK is a pro-growth country, having grown faster than France, Germany, Italy and Japan since 2010 and this is set to continue with the IMF saying say we will grow faster than France and Germany in the longer-term.

“We’ve again seen inflation fall this week to help everyone’s money go further and the OBR expects measures in the Autumn Statement including delivering the biggest package of tax cuts since the 1980s and cutting National Insurance for 29 million people, will boost growth even further.”

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