RBS chief warns of no-deal Brexit recession

RBS chief executive Ross McEwan

Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive Ross McEwan has warned in a BBC interview that a no-deal Brexit could tip the UK economy into recession.

He told the BBC a “bad Brexit” could result in “zero or negative” economic growth.

He said RBS was becoming careful about lending to certain sectors of the economy, especially retail and construction.

RBS is still 64% owned by the UK taxpayer following its bailout during the last financial crisis.

McEwan said: “We are assuming 1-1.5% growth for next year but if we get a bad Brexit then that could be zero or negative and that would affect our profitability and our share price.”

On general conditions, the bank CEO added: “There are some retailers we are having to be a bit more cautious about because they haven’t made the necessary transition from bricks and mortar to digital …

“The big construction companies are getting very cautious about where they are putting their capital – particularly around London …

“Big businesses are pausing, they are saying that in six months time I’ll have another look at the UK and I might come back, but if it’s really bad I’ll invest elsewhere – that’s the reality of where we are today.”