Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Wiltshire entrepreneur tops Sunday Times rich list

James Dyson


Wiltshire entrepreneur James Dyson has become the richest person in the UK for the first time, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, which was published yesterday (Sunday).

The inventor – who employs 4,500 people at his research and development base in Malmesbury – saw his wealth grow by £3.6 billion over the past 12 months, climbing to £16.2 billion.

He has claimed the top spot from Sri and Gopi Hinduja, who have amassed a wealth of £16 billion.

Sir James invented his bagless vacuum cleaner after seeing an industrial extractor and imagining how it could be downsized. The Dyson went on to become Britain's best-selling vacuum cleaner.

Cleaners used to be manufactured in Malmesbury, but Sir James moved production to Malaysia – where costs were said to be 30 percent lower – in 2003, at a cost of 800 manufacturing jobs.

Last year he moved his corporate headquarters to Singapore.

His plans to build an electric car at Hullavington fell flat after he spent £500 million developing a prototype, and in March the government ordered 10,000 ventilators from the company to help with the coronavirus crisis, before deciding they were no longer needed.

"Ours is a life of risk and failure," he told the Sunday Times. "We try things and they fail. Life isn't easy."