Commenting on reports of texts between Boris Johnson and James Dyson in March 2020, Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner said, “It is no surprise that Dyson’s ultimately aborted efforts to provide the NHS with ventilators were conditional on tax avoidance.
“Despite the back door deals and ‘mate’s rates’ this government presides over and revelation after revelation of Tory sleaze, it is still shocking that the Prime Minister changed national tax policy over text because James Dyson told him to,” he added.
“While Boris Johnson was ‘fixing it’ for his billionaire tax exile mate, who ended up doing nothing to help the country in its time of need, British-based manufacturers offering vital world-beating skills and services were being ignored by ministers.
“It encapsulates everything that is wrong with this government’s response to the coronavirus and approach to industry in general,” Turner continued. “Instead of an open process which chooses the right people and organisations for the job, decisions are based on a closed network of personal contacts whose overriding interest is profit.
“In the end, it was the skills and efforts of UK manufacturing workers, many of them Unite members, and world class businesses that came together, organised themselves and ‘got to work’ providing the emergency medical equipment our health service depended on, from ventilators to PPE.
“And after having stepped up in a national effort to save the lives of thousands, workers were then disgracefully denied access to the job retention scheme as they hadn’t been placed on furlough earlier,” he went on to say.
“The fact that life-saving efforts were delayed in getting off the starting blocks because Boris Johnson and his government were too busy giving Dyson a sweetheart deal in the middle of the biggest national crisis since the Second World War is a disgrace.
“There must be a public inquiry into the rot of lobbying and sleaze that sits at the heart of this government.”
By Ryan Fletcher