Guy Hands warns over Brexit

Private equity boss Guy Hands has said Brexit will be good for his businesses, which include the Wyevale Garden Centre Group - but will mean a 30 per cent wage reduction for UK workers.

Terra Firma chairman Hands added that leaving the EU will lead to higher interest rates and increased immigration from outside Europe, from places such as India and Africa, who will accept "substantially" lower pay.

He told Bloomberg TV that foreign investors will raise lending rates to the UK as it leaves the EU, which will lead to higher interest rates.

"That will lead to bankruptcies and that will lead to opportunities, so sadly it will probably be bad for the majority of people and bad for the country, but for my business it's probably going to be good."

Speaking in May, ahead of the Brexit vote, Hands said imports and regulations would rise in cost because of Brexit: "For the UK, the cost of plants will definitely go up. So many of our plants are imported from Europe and at the moment we rely on the quarantine system and freedom of movement, which that quarantine system allows. If we came out of Europe we would have to put all regulations in place separately.

"A lot of people think coming out of Europe could get rid of regulations but in reality we would have to recreate a whole lot of new regulations instead of having a certified regulator, which we might feel is excessive, but we'd end up with lots and lots of individual regulations, many of which would be equally excessive."

*Book now for the Garden Retail Summit 2017 - the leading independent knowledge and networking event for executives. Taking place in London on 23rd February and run by Horticulture Week, this year's event will focus on growth, and include the opportunities and challenges of Brexit, learnings from the latest garden centre developments - and will be opened with a keynote address from John Cleland, CEO, Dobbies. For more details and tickets go to: www.gardenretailawards.com/summit


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