Boris Johnson criticized for promising to 'fix' tax issue of billionaire James Dyson based in SingaporeBusiness | 21 Apr 2021 6:58 pm
Brirish Prime Minister Boris Johnson assured Sir James Dyson his employees would not have to pay extra tax if they came to the UK to make ventilators during the pandemic, the BBC reports.
Sir James, whose company is now based in Singapore, wrote to the Treasury to ask for no change in tax status for staff.
But in text messages sent in March 2020 - seen by the BBC - Sir James then went directly to Johnson, with Johnson replying: "I will fix it."
The government said it did everything it could to get the right equipment.
And Sir James said it was "absurd to suggest that the urgent correspondence was anything other than seeking compliance with rules" and that his company did not receive "any benefit from the project.''
Labour called the revelations "jaw-dropping,'' with shadow business minister Lucy Powell telling the BBC: "Frankly it stinks that a billionaire businessman can text the prime minister and get an immediate response and, apparently, an immediate change in policy."
When the businessman sought further reassurance for the tax status of the firm and "senior individuals", Johnson replied: "I am First Lord of the Treasury and you can take it that we are backing you to do what you need."
Two weeks later, Sunak told a group of MPs that the tax status of people who came to the UK to provide specific help during the pandemic would not be affected.
The company later shared the texts with officials, but it is not clear if Johnson flagged the exchanges with officials as the rules suggest he should.