Branson warns pound to plummet in no-deal Brexit

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A no-deal Brexit would compel the pound to plummet and be worth the same as the dollar, Virgin boss Sir Richard Branson has divulged.

This would be “devastating” for Virgin, and force the group to shift investment out of the UK, he put about.

Sir Richard also criticised the rail franchising system, saying it suppressed entrepreneurs.

The Department for Transport said rail firms “clearly see an skill to be entrepreneurial”.

Pound hit

Boris Johnson, the frontrunner in the Tory leadership rally, has refused to rule out suspending parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit.

But Sir Richard peached the BBC that the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal would cause the pound to descend.

“The pound was at $1.53 when the referendum took place. The pound today it is at $1.22, $1.23, and the purge will collapse to parity [one for one] with the dollar if there is a hard Brexit,” he symbolized.

The businessman, whose portfolio includes airlines, financial services and instrumentality companies, expects big losses for all his UK interests, saying it would be “devastating for diverse Virgin companies”.

“It obviously is going to result in us spending a lot less small change in Britain, and just putting all our energies into other countries” he reckoned.

Sterling pressures

Sir Richard warned in December that the UK would be red “near bankrupt” if there was a hard Brexit.

He told the BBC at the time that he was “altogether certain” that leaving the EU without a deal would lead to the closure of “unequivocally a few British businesses”.

Virgin Atlantic, the group’s major airline, has, concerting to Sir Richard, already suffered substantial loses since the UK voted to sabbatical the EU in 2016, due to the drop in the pound against the dollar.

“All our costs are in dollars. Support, plane costs, pretty well every cost is in dollars. And for that reason, the bottom line hit of that was £100m a year, say,” he said.

A hard Brexit last will and testament mean airfreight from Europe to the US would just disappear, he communicates, “so that would be another £100m just down the drain”.

“And I can gain on. There’s an enormous list when you look at each Virgin enterprise.”

Sterling has had a tough week, falling to its lowest point in two years.

It chucked below $1.25 after succumbing to political and economic pressures.

Baluster dispute

Sir Richard also criticised the UK’s rail franchising system.

Virgin Attendants, the franchise that has run on the West Coast Mainline for 22 years, order end in March next year.

After a dispute with the Department for Bear over who should bear pension risk, in April, Virgin and its manipulating partner Stagecoach were disqualified from rebidding to operate on the employment.

Sir Richard said train companies should contribute to the pension loss, but shouldn’t have an open-ended risk.

He added: “I’m very disappointed for everybody who works for Virgin Retainers. They’ve done an extraordinary job over 22 years. Sad that a influential company may be coming to an end.”

He said he was working on “open access” for Virgin Sequences on the West Coast Mainline, which would let the firm operate a pared-down assignment.

Sir Richard also said the railway franchising system was “a real predicament”, adding that it was too constrictive.

“The Department for Transport, in their wisdom, rat on you massive long lists of dos and don’ts, and it’s very difficult to be entrepreneurial, and that’s sad,” he held.

But an official from the Department for Transport said: “We are sorry to see Virgin consent the UK rail industry having failed to put forward a compliant bid.

“Other theatre troupes have done so and the remaining bidders in current competitions clearly see an talent to be entrepreneurial on the railways.

“The recent winning bid on the East Midlands franchise accepted the golden handshake cause to retires terms and will deliver significant benefits for passengers, transforming their transits.”

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