A no-deal Brexit would leave the UK “near bankrupt”, according to Sir Richard Branson.
“I’m absolutely certain that quite a few businesses will close if there’s a hard Brexit,” the Virgin boss told the BBC on Friday.
“It’s now very, very clear that Britain would be near bankrupt if we push ahead with something like a hard Brexit.”
“I think Theresa May needs to be 100 per cent honest with the public ... If British business suffers, British people will suffer, and it’s really important that people realise that.”
The Bank of England produced a “worst case” scenario for a no-deal Brexit last month which showed the UK suffering its most extreme recession since the Second World War and with house prices falling by a third.
A no-deal Brexit would force the imposition of a huge array of checks on all UK goods and product exports to the EU, which would likely cause severe transport blockages in both directions.
This would be disastrous for UK manufacturers and retailers with just-in-time supply chains. It could also threaten the supply of food and medicines to the UK.
There would also be no fall-back international agreement for aviation, meaning planes would be unable to fly from the UK to the EU and vice versa.
“Policymakers must be in no doubt of how serious the consequences of no deal would be for the UK economy and jobs in every region and nation,” says the CBI lobby group.
Many MPs, from all parties, have said that they would act to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
Yet, under the Article 50 process, the UK is scheduled to leave the EU with without a deal on 29 March 2019 if the withdrawal agreement creating a 21-month transition period is not approved.
Some Brexiteers have been calling on the government to start planning for what they call a “managed no-deal Brexit”, by trying to conclude small deals with the EU covering aviation and medicines in order to limit the disruption of leaving without an agreement.
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