Sheffield business boss: 'In a year we might be saying '˜Thank God' for Brexit'

A top Sheffield businessman has said Brexit '˜might not be a bad thing' for the city and the country.

Friday, 24th June 2016, 12:48 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:22 pm
Richard Wright, of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce at the HS2 Summit. Picture: Andrew Roe

Richard Wright, executive director of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said it was time for people to take stock of the referendum result.

He said the ‘serious financial problems’ affecting much of the European Union may mean the decision to leave will prove to be the correct one.

Mr Wright said: “We are where we are. We don’t know if it is a bad thing. We don’t know if in a year from now Europe might be in real trouble and we might be saying ‘Thank God we cleared out’.

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“We have a big world to trade with. Despite being in the EU, we have a massive trade deficit and being in Europe wasn’t helping us.

“I don’t think the EU is in a great position, it has some serious financial problems.”

He said it was not yet clear what the long-term economic impact of leaving the EU will be.

“I’m actually saying to people let’s just wait a moment and take a couple of breaths,” he said.

“We have already seen the stock markets rally.

“The pound has dropped but it had been rising. It is low but not that low compared to a month ago.

“The short-term effect is less of a worry.

“There is uncertainty and a lot will depend now on what the Government does. They need to focus on trying to get the economy moving.

“Within the region there are worries. Our regional economy is not fantastic when you stick it up against some of the other city regions.

“We have got some real strengths but also areas of concern.”

He said he was not surprised by the outcome of the vote.

“I was telling everybody I thought we would come out,” he said.

“The business community will have voted by a majority to stay in. But if you spoke to the man in the street and in the pub, they were for out.”