// Next boss Lord Simon Wolfson says no-deal Brexit will only bring “mild disruption”
// He says Boris Johnson’s government is doing a better job at preparing for it than Theresa May’s government
// In November last year, he warned a no deal Brexit would bring about “chaos and disorder”
Next chief executive Lord Simon Wolfson has said a no-deal Brexit would only bring about “mild disruption”, despite previously warning about the dangers of such a scenario.
Speaking on The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4, Wolfson said he believes chaos can be avoided in the event of a no-deal Brexit in October.
Despite this, he expressed hope that a deal would still be possible.
Wolfson, who supported the Leave campaign during the 2016 referendum, also said the current government led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson was doing a better job at preparing for Brexit than the previous administration led by Theresa May.
He said the back-up plans for no-deal and simplified procedures at customs and borders had reduced risks such as delays in the supply chain.
His latest comments follow his stark warning in November that a no-deal Brexit would result in chaotic gridlock at UK ports, posing a serious risk to Next.
He had also called on the government at the time to provide clarity on what measures would be taken to avert severe congestion at the border in a no-deal scenario.
This morning he criticised May’s government for its “wilful attempt to not prepare” for a no-deal scenario, but he now believes that was being addressed.
“We are a long way from disorder and chaos, the fact that HMRC has introduced these transition methods will make an enormous difference,” Wolfson said.
“I think the encouraging thing is that we are rapidly moving from the disorder and chaos camp to the well-prepared camp.
“I should stress that I would much prefer a deal to no deal, but I am much less frightened by no deal if the government is prepared, and there is every indication it’s taking it more seriously.”
He added that increased preparation for a no-deal scenario would help the government secure one ahead of the October 31 deadline.
“In the vast majority of deals I’ve done, if the deadline is midnight, the deal gets done at 11:55 but we need to have nerves of steel and prepare ourselves for either outcome,” he said.