New Year Honours: CBE for inventor whose new design cleaned up

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The inventor of the bag-less vacuum cleaner, James Dyson, whose revolutionary "cyclone" design ousted giants Hoover and Electrolux from the top of the British market, has been rewarded with a CBE.

Mr Dyson, 50, who is reputed to be worth more than pounds 100m through earnings from his company, Dyson Appliances, said he was "delighted" to see industrial design recognised. "I'm not sure what an inventor is. I'm really just an engineer who manufactures his own products," he said.

Launched in 1993, the Dyson vacuum cleaner was the first to dispense with costly and inefficient dust bags. Mr Dyson spent 14 years developing the idea and now employs 1,000 staff in Wiltshire. Dysons account for more than a third of all vacuum cleaners sold in Britain.

Other awards to industry and City leaders emphasised Labour's much trumpeted new relationship with the business community. They include a knighthood for Neville Simms, chief executive of construction giant Tarmac and a prominent Conservative supporter.

Apart from his job at Tarmac, which included a leading role in the building of the Channel Tunnel, Sir Neville is a member of the Court of the Bank of England. He said: "Regardless of my own political persuasion, the Government is proving that the old left versus right divide is irrelevant."

Knighthoods also go to Dennis Stevenson, chairman of Pearson, the media group which publishes the Financial Times, which backed Labour at the last two elections. Sir Dennis was the whistle-blower in one of the big City scandals of the 1980s, the Blue Arrow affair.

The former Pearson managing director, Frank Barlow, has also been given a knighthood, for "services to the newspaper industry".