THE vacuum tycoon Sir James Dyson has sparked controversy by saying the UK should walk out of Brexit talks, axe corporation tax and make it “easier to hire and fire" people.

The Leave supporting inventor said it was outrageous that Brussels was being unreasonable in demanding “billions and billions” to settle the UK’s divorce bill.

He told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show: “Demanding billions and billions to leave is quite outrageous and demanding it before we negotiate anything is outrageous.

Loading article content

"So, I would walk away. I think that's the only way to deal with them."

He said the UK was in an “incredibly strong position” and the EU would “come to us”.

Sir James also called for corporation tax to be “eliminated”.

He said: “A tax on profits is the wrong way to tax people. Corporation tax is a very odd thing because there’s ways to get around paying it.

“You shouldn’t really be taxing people’s profits, you should allow profits to be reinvested. And also, if you remove corporation tax you encourage a lot of other industry to come to Britain.”

He said manufacturing was put off by the “very difficult employment laws” in the UK.

“This is controversial, but since I don’t know what orders I’m going to get next month or next year, and the manufacturing industry is very volatile, not being able to flex your workforce is another reason why you wouldn’t start or expand a manufacturing business.”

Asked if he meant making it easier to hire and fire people, he said: “Easier to hire and fire."

Labour MP Wes Streeting tweeted: “No corporation tax and firms able to hire and fire at will. That's James Dyson's vision for Brexit Britain - and families will pay the price.”

The EU has given the UK a fortnight to increase its £20bn divorce bill offer, otherwise there will no progress to talks on future trade relations until at least spring 2018.

Brexit Secretary David Davis dismissed suggestion that a no deal scenario was now “more probable than it's ever been before”, reiterating it was not the government’s aim.

However he also told Sunday with Niall Paterson on Sky News that the UK would be aware well in advance if a “no deal” outcome was coming.

He said: “If we're at this point with no deal, we'll know it's coming for a while and we'll take measures to ensure [we avoid a cliff edge].. which is why I've talked about, at various times, a bare bones deal or a minimalist deal.

“We don't want that either, frankly, but don't assume we haven't thought through the end contingencies of this. We have. There will not be a circumstance where aircraft won't fly, there will not be a circumstance where we can't exchange data with the European institutions, there will not be those sorts of failures that people are fearing.”