British billionaire and Virgin founder Sir Richard Bransonwarned that the value of the pound would collapse to parity with the dollar if the United Kingdom crashed out of the European Union without a deal.
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.