Former Bank of England Gov. Mervyn King didn’t hold back in an interview with the BBC in which he called the U.K. government’s Brexit preparations nothing short of incompetent.
King, who supported Britain’s exit from the European Union, said that an economy the size of the U.K. was left stockpiling food and medicine to withstand a possible no-deal Brexit “beggared belief,” in a preview of an interview that is due to be aired next week. A government that was unable to prevent such outcomes, which he called “catastrophic”, only served to illustrate a lack of preparation, King said.
‘It doesn’t tell us anything about whether the policy of staying in the EU is good or bad, it tells us everything about the incompetence of the preparation for it.’
The last minute plans that are now in play indeed undermined the U.K.’s bargaining position, versus the 27 EU member states that stood in a united front, King said.
King said a “Brexit in name only” — Brino — was a strong possibility and a worst of all worlds outcome.
“I think the biggest risk in the U.K., and is what worries me most, is that this issue isn’t going to go away, you know the referendum hasn’t decided it, because both camps feel that they haven’t got what they wanted,” the former BOE boss said.
King further said the issues surrounding Brexit were distracting from the economic challenges the U.K. was facing, including funding for its pension system, the National Health Service and care for the elderly.
Brexit headlines have buffetted the pound. Sterling jumped sharply versus the dollar GBPUSD, +0.9102% Wednesday and remained up 0.8% at $1.2961 after a news report said Germany and the U.K. were willing to accept less detail on future economic ties between Britain and the EU. The pound remains down more than 4% versus the dollar in the year to date.
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