Brexit-backer James Dyson becomes Britain’s richest man after moving HQ overseas

British entrepreneur and inventor James Dyson

British entrepreneur and inventor James Dyson - Credit: DPA/PA Images

Brexit-backing businessman Sir James Dyson has become Britain's richest man - and denied suggestions he had moved his headquarters out of the UK for tax purposes.

The Brexit-backing inventor, who moved the Dyson headquarters to Singapore from Wiltshire last year, topped the Sunday Times rich list for 2020 with an estimated fortune of £16.2 billion.

In one of his few interviews since the Brexit vote, Dyson rejected suggestions it had anything to do with favourable tax arrangements and said the firm even paid more in UK tax in 2019 than in 2018.

The businessman told the newspaper: 'Asia is the fastest-growing market in the world and already accounts for 50% of our sales.

'You've got to live it and breathe it, to think like Asians.

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'It would be arrogant to think that we can imagine products for that market sitting here in Wiltshire. We needed to be headquartered in Asia.'

Last year the company's chief executive denied that Brexit was a factor either.

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'The move is nothing to do with Brexit or tax, it's about making sure we are future proofed. There are huge revenue opportunities in Singapore, China is the poster child of that,' he said.

'The tax difference is negligible for us, we are taxed all over the world and we will continue to pay tax in the UK. We will continue to invest in the UK, in Malmesbury, in Bristol and London.'

Dyson said back in 2016 ahead of the Brexit vote: 'We will create more wealth and more jobs by being outside the EU. We will be in control of our destiny. And control, I think, is the most important thing in life and business.

'The last thing I would ever want to do is to put myself in somebody else's hands. Not just the other countries, but the Brussels bureaucrats.'

Also on the Sunday Times rich list for 2020 are:

- Sir James Dyson and family, household goods and technology, £16.2 billion.

- Sri and Gopi Hinduja and family, industry and finance, £16 billion.

- David and Simon Reuben, property and internet, £16 billion.

- Sir Leonard Blavatnik, investment, music and media, £15.78 billion.

- Sir Jim Ratcliffe, Ineos chemical giant, £12.15 billion.

- Kirsten and Jorn Rausing, inheritance and investment, £12.1 billion.

- Alisher Usmanov, mining and investment, £11.68 billion.

- Guy, George and Galen Jr Weston and family, retail, £10.53 billion.

- Charlene de Carvalho-Heineken and Michel de Carvalho, inheritance, brewing and banking, £10.3 billion.

- The Duke of Westminster and the Grosvenor family, property, £10.29 billion.

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