Apr 21, 2021

Dyson texts seem low-level sleaze but still raise lobbying questions

Any tale involving the words "James Dyson" and "Tax" is guaranteed to raise UK hackles. The messages between the entrepreneur and UK prime minister Boris Johnson raise more questions for a government consumed by scandal over lobbying and private influence after the collapse of Greensill. Dyson then texted the prime minister: the HMRC move, which had clarified that unplanned stays for reasons such as quarantine or travel restrictions would count as exceptional for tax residency, was not sufficient. Dyson, which still employs 4,000 people in the UK, is not willing to say how many of its overseas staff actually spent time in the UK on the project. Did the messages between Dyson and the prime minister risk giving the impression of a special favour? Absolutely: "I will fix it tomo!" "Rishi says it is fixed!!" "I am first lord of the treasury and you can take it that we are backing you to do what you need."

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