Sunday 19 February 2017

Richard Branson warns 'Brexit' devastating for UK prosperity

Published 20/06/2016 | 09:01

Richard Branson. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Richard Branson. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Entrepreneur Richard Branson has warned that Brexit would be “devastating” for the UK's long-term prosperity.

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The billionaire and founder of the Virgin Group wrote an open letter as he is backing the "Remain" campaign ahead of Thursday's EU referendum vote.

Virgin Group currently employs 50 000 people in the UK.

Branson wrote: “As an entrepreneur I have been known for taking risks throughout my career but leaving the European Union is not one of the risks I would want the UK to take - not as an investor, not as a father and not as a grandfather. I am deeply concerned about the impact of leaving.

“Although I’ve been living in the British Virgin Islands for some time now, I have never stopped caring passionately about the UK and its great people. I am one of the few business people who can remember how difficult it was before the EU was formed. Setting up a new business was a challenge, I couldn't move my employees between Britain and Europe without visas, moving goods was hugely complex with high taxes and the hassle of red tape and heavy-handed bureaucracy. I'm saddened to think the UK would ever go back to that time.”

He added: “There are a few times in your life when you can see thing going horribly wrong. I truly believe that leaving the EU would be devastating for the long-term future of Great Britain and the future of Europe.”

He added that the EU had managed to secure peace in Europe in the wake of the Second World War.

“My father Ted fought in North Africa, Italy and Germany during World War 2. My grandfather survived the horrors of the trenches in World War 1. I truly believe that one of the EU's greatest achievements that it has kept its members out of conflict in Europe. In fact, not a single shot has ever been fired between the armies of EU member states.”

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