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Richard Branson: Leaving the EU would be devastating for Britain

Richard Branson
Richard Branson: ‘I am deeply concerned about the impact of leaving the EU’ Credit: PA

Richard Branson has thrown his weight behind the Remain campaign, warning that leaving the EU would be “devastating” for the future of Britain.

The Virgin Group billionaire released an open letter imploring Britons to stay in the European Union ahead of this week’s referendum.

In it the 65-year-old recalls “how difficult it was” for businesses to operate effectively before the EU, adding he was “saddened” at the prospect of “going back to that time.”

Richard Branson’s letter urging voters to Remain in the EU:

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.

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.

Virgin Group employs around 50,000 people in the UK
Virgin Group employs around 50,000 people in the UK Credit: PA

As well as claiming its economic gains, Branson praised the EU for securing peace on the continent in the wake of the World War II.

He said: “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.”

A pro-Europe campaign will be spearheaded by Branson in the run up polling day on Thursday 23 June that will include his warning, adverts and a video message.

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