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."