EXCL George Osborne's family firm loses hundreds of thousands of pounds due to Brexit

Posted On: 
28th September 2017

The Brexit vote cost George Osborne’s family business hundreds of thousands of pounds last year, PoliticsHome can reveal.

George Osborne warned of the economic consequences of Brexit when he was Chancellor
PA Images

The wallpaper firm Osborne and Little Group Limited - of which the former Chancellor is a shareholder - was left £855,000 out of pocket by the result, according its latest filing at Companies House.

It explains that despite making pre-tax profits of £73,000, the posh furnishings company took a hit shifting cash between its US and UK subsidiaries after the drop in the pound following the Brexit vote.

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Pro-EU campaign group Open Britain said the firm will be “just one of thousands of British businesses being punished by the plummeting pound”.

Mr Osborne - who is now editor of the Evening Standard newspaper - warned ahead of the referendum that the UK economy would take a hit if the country voted for Brexit.

According to its 2016/17 annual report, Osborne and Little Group Limited would have made profits of almost £1m if the UK had not made the historic decision to quit the EU in June last year.

But the firm - founded by the ex-MP's father Sir Peter Osborne - lost out after locking itself into currency exchange contracts before the vote.

“The hedging of the US dollar exposure at our budgeted rate resulted in hedging losses of £855,000 following the collapse of sterling after the Brexit referendum,” it said.

“Excluding hedging losses the profit before tax would have been £928,000.”

And it added: “The US dollars were sold forward at budgeted rates and the losses were incurred on the realisation of the contracts following the collapse of sterling after the Brexit referendum.”

James McGrory, executive director of Open Britain, told PoliticsHome: “Osborne and Little will be just one of thousands of British businesses being punished by the plummeting pound caused by the Brexit vote.

“If the leader column’s in the Evening Standard were not scathing enough about the Government’s Brexit strategy, it would not be surprising if they suddenly became even more excoriating.”

He added: “If the Government want to help businesses, inject some certainty back into our economy, and help sterling off the floor, they need to put membership of the single market and the customs union back at the heart of their Brexit negotiating strategy.”

The Osborne and Little Group annual report said it would stand to benefit by the end of the next financial year if the exchange rates stay as they are.

Elsewhere, it revealed that the firm paid no UK corporation tax for the eighth year in a row.