Multi-millionaire businessman John Elliott leaves little doubt about his financial patriotism as his Jaguar automotive nears his manufacturing facility in north-east England.
“Take a look at this space, it as soon as produced the world’s first locomotive steam engine, and now the Japanese, Hitachi, are producing our trains,” he says dismissively as he drives.
The straight-talking 73-year-old is the founder and boss of producing enterprise Ebac.
Arrange in 1972 to make dehumidifiers, up to now 12 months it has additionally began producing the primary British designed and constructed washer for 40 years.
Ebac relies within the County Durham city of Newtown Aycliffe, only a few miles from the place Mr Elliott was born, and he has ensured that it’ll stay that manner – in perpetuity.
As a substitute of his two daughters inheriting the enterprise and his £70m fortune when he dies, in 2012 he handed possession of the corporate over to a belief, the Ebac Basis.
“The belief means the corporate can by no means be offered,” says Mr Elliott. “I by no means felt it was mine to promote.”
Below the belief association, Ebac should preserve all work in Newtown Aycliffe, and any surplus earnings are used to assist neighborhood teams, such because the native soccer membership.
Mr Elliott, who nonetheless leads the corporate, and is likely one of the basis’s 4 present trustees, says that his kids, who each work for the enterprise, are pleased with the association.
He provides that he was notably decided to make sure that Ebac may by no means be moved overseas.
“We may make more cash if we began to make our merchandise in Poland,” he says. “However, personally, I’d somewhat make a smaller revenue and help the UK economic system than make an even bigger revenue and devalue the UK economic system.”
With greater than 200 members of employees, Ebac is a large employer in an economically disadvantaged space, however Mr Elliott’s opinions about his workforce might elevate some eyebrows.
“They don’t seem to be very bold however they don’t seem to be second-class residents, and there are quite a lot of them within the UK,” he says.
“They’re moderately effectively motivated, however they’re at a low ability degree.”
Mr Elliott, who was in opposition to the introduction of the minimal wage as a result of he views it as a brake on productiveness, says it’s mistaken for generations of UK politicians to assume that everybody ought to do effectively in class and get a lot of .
“The mistaken concept was that we must always make everybody in Britain very, very intelligent so we would not have to do any onerous work,” he says.
“[Instead], half the individuals within the UK – or thereabouts – need to work in factories like this,” he says.
“It is their selection, they don’t seem to be right here by power. If they might somewhat do an unskilled or semi-skilled job at a decrease price of pay then that is their choice.”
He provides that whereas the UK nonetheless has a producing trade it may be happy with, he’s disenchanted that a lot of it’s now in international arms.
Mr Elliott himself left faculty at 15 with no . Trying again on this, he says: “My largest remorse? Two wasted years – I ought to have left at 13.”
‘No deal breaker’
Born and raised in a coal mining village close to Bishop Auckland, County Durham, Mr Elliott and his two brothers have been introduced up by their mom and grandparents after his father died when he was six months outdated.
After leaving faculty he grew to become engineering apprentice, happening to work for a lot of native firms.
His huge break got here in 1972 when he was 29, a consumer requested him to design an industrial humidifier and he arrange his personal firm to make it. And thus Ebac [then known as Elliott Brothers Air Control] was born.
Ebac has grown over time, and as we speak additionally makes water coolers and air-conditioning techniques. Its annual turnover is greater than £15m, with earnings exceeding £3m.
A eager supporter of Brexit – the UK leaving the European Union – Mr Elliott says it’s a huge alternative for the nation, which the UK ought to embrace.
“Presently we promote to France and we promote to the US,” he says. “The US has tariffs and that is an inconvenience, but it surely’s not a deal breaker.
“The way in which you promote stuff is to give you issues individuals need to purchase.
“Individuals think about the UK will not be capable to promote something anymore to Europe. No, no, no. The remainder of the world trades with Europe, you simply should take care of tariffs.”
Emma Roberts, head of business technique on the CBI enterprise foyer group, says it’s pleasing that Ebac is specializing in “making a hit of Brexit”.
Whereas Ebac’s washing machines are at the moment solely out there at simply 20 retailers in north-east England, Mr Elliott has plans to extend manufacturing.
He says that its £10m washer meeting line may produce greater than 250,000 made within the UK washing machines per 12 months.