Next boss Lord Wolfson attacks government’s Brexit approach

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Next CEO

The chief executive of one of the UK’s biggest retailers has publicly criticised the government’s approach to Brexit, calling them on to present “clear vision”.

Lord Simon Wolfson, who is a Conservative Party life peer and was a prominent Leave campaigner leading up to the EU referendum last year, said that the type of Brexit undertaken would determine “how successful” we are.

“As of yet we don’t know really what direction the government’s going,” Wolfson told Press Association.

“We desperately need a clear vision, and what I hope is that vision is one of an open, outward looking, tolerant, liberal, Brexit that recognises that we need to control immigration, but also recognises the enormous value that hard working, tax-paying people make to our economy when they come to our country.”

READ MORE: Next posts worse-than-expected first quarter results

Wolfson said he did not regret his support for the Leave campaign, and brushed off worries that rising prices caused by the Brexit-hit sterling will affect Next’s future.

The fashion chain itself recently warned that rising prices, wage pressures and a subsequent slowdown in consumer spending could result in full-year profits falling by as much as 14 per cent.

Wolfson told Press Association that Next was making its own contingency plans as a result.

“Almost everyone’s preparing for Brexit, and actually the company I work for – which is used to importing and exporting goods all over the world into all different customs areas and all different jurisdictions paying all kinds of taxes – actually the challenges that Brexit poses are relatively small,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean that they’re small for the nation, but they’re certainly small as far as our own business is considered. We’re not concerned.”

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