VIRGIN GROUP CEO & Founder Richard Branson issues a stark warning on the fate of the pound in a no-deal Brexit

EU Brexit
FILE – In this Monday, March 27, 2017 file photo, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic and the Virgin Group, smiles at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. Branson has warned that a no-deal Brexit will force the company to invest less in Britain because of pressures on the pound. Branson has told the BBC on Thursday, July 11, 2019 that if the U.K. leaves the European Union without a deal, it will force his company to shift investment because its costs are in dollars. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

Branson: Pound could be just a dollar in ‘no-deal’ Brexit/Iain Martin

LONDON (AP) — Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has warned that the pound’s value would fall to that of the dollar if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal — a stark prediction that will fuel worries about the economic pressures facing the country.

Branson told the BBC that a hard Brexit would be “devastating” for Virgin and would lead the group to invest outside the U.K. Virgin Atlantic would lose $125 million (£100 million) of air freight contracts from Europe, after having already seen its costs rise by $125 million (£100 million) after the pound slumped in value following the 2016 referendum.

“The pound was at $1.53 when the referendum took place. The pound today it is at $1.22, $1.23, and the pound will collapse to parity with the dollar if there is a hard Brexit,” said Branson.

Branson’s comments came as the British currency plunged to a two-year low of $1.24 against the dollar earlier this week. The pound has fallen in recent months over concerns about the health of the U.K. economy and the prospect that Boris Johnson, who has argued for no-deal Brexit, will become the U.K.’s next prime minister.

The pound last neared parity with the dollar in February 1985 when the pound fell to $1.05 off the back of a surging American economy.

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