Virgin Group founder and billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson has warned that in the event of a no deal or hard Brexit, the UK will be left “near bankrupt”.
In an interview with the BBC he said that he was “absolutely certain” that if the United Kingdom left the European Union (EU) without striking any deal would ultimately result in the closing down of “quite a few British businesses”.
He also mentioned the comments by the British Prime Minister Theresa May where she had admitted that the version of Brexit that her government is proposing was not as good economically for the UK compared to what would have been the case if the country would have stayed with the EU.
At the same time, the government has been urged to adopt a “managed no-deal” approach by a pro-Brexit business group.
The comments made by Sir Richard were from the Mojave desert in California where he had gone to attend the latest Virgin Galactic space launch.
“I think Theresa May needs to be 100% honest with the public,” Sir Richard said.
“She’s admitted that a hard Brexit would be an absolute disaster for the British people.
“From our Virgin companies’ point of view, a hard Brexit would torpedo some of our companies,” he said. he added that the business of Virgin Holidays would get hit in because of a hard Brexit because the pound is expected to drop at a level of parity with the US dollar and this would mean that the costs of touring foreign destinations for Britons would become higher and as such lesser number of people would be able to afford to take such trips.
“If British business suffers, British people will suffer, and it’s really really important that people realise that,” Sir Richard said.
The comments from Sir Richard were made at the end of a week in which Theresa May decided to postpone a Parliamentary vote on the Brexit withdrawal agreement and in which there was a vote of no confidence brought by MPs who were unhappy with that move by May.
Meanwhile, a cal to the government to dismantle the provisional deal with the EU proposed by May and instead concentrate on creating for a so called “managed no-deal” gas been given by a group of prominent Leave-supporting business leaders.
That measure would comprise of numerous small deals with the EU and other countries in place of going for an overall agreement, said John Mills, the chairman of multi-channel retailer JML, in a television interview.
“You need to start off having deals on aviation, and moving of drugs, and all this sort of thing, making sure the ports run as smoothly as possible, just to minimise the amount of disruption that takes place,” he said.
He added that this could then create a bigger “free-trade deal on a comprehensive basis”.
(Adapted from bbc.com)