Belfast Telegraph

Virgin boss Branson warns red tape puts small business at greater risk from Brexit

By Ravender Sembhy

Sir Richard Branson has warned small businesses are at far greater risk from Brexit than larger firms, and could be clobbered with a costly amount of bureaucracy once Britain leaves the EU.

The billionaire tycoon said the impact of Brexit could be bigger than "any small businesses ever imagined" and it is "critical" they continue to enjoy access to EU markets.

"Small businesses are likely to suffer more than big businesses from Brexit and that's because big businesses have overseas earnings in dollars, and as the pound goes down they can cushion themselves.

"The massive question is, will small businesses have access to Europe in the way that they had in the past?

"There is a danger that if the Brexit negotiations go wrong, the bureaucracy could be far, far greater than any small businesses ever imagined.

"Importation duties, the exportation duties, this big market being made much more inaccessible, it is critical."

The Virgin boss was an outspoken Remainer prior to last year's vote, and over the weekend said a hard Brexit would be a "disaster" for the UK and could warrant a second referendum.

Sir Richard has also helped pay for the office used by Gina Miller, the businesswoman whose legal action forced a parliamentary vote on withdrawal from the EU.

She launched the Best For Britain crowdfunded initiative to influence the result in marginal seats last week.

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