Ratings agency Standard & Poor's has cut its outlook for the United Kingdom. The move came on the back of the government's decision to hold a referendum on whether the nation should stay in the EU or not.
Standard & Poor's announced Friday it had lowered the outlook for the UK's government debt to "negative" from "stable."
S&P had been the only major ratings agency to still grant Britain a top-notch sovereign assessment, but said the country was at increased risk of losing its triple-A credit rating following Prime Minister David Cameron's decision to hold a referendum on leaving the 28-member European Union.
"The UK government's decision to hold a referendum on EU membership by 2017 indicates that economic policymaking could be at risk of being more exposed to party politics than we had previously anticipated," Standard & Poor's said in a statement.
Wary industry leaders
"[It's] similar to the situation in the US when we lowered that credit rating in 2011," the agency added.
Industry associations in the UK had previously warned of dire economic consequences, should Britain leave the EU.
"Business must be crystal clear that membership is in our national interest," the president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Mike Rake, said in a statement. "The question is not whether the UK would survive outside the EU, but whether it would thrive."
hg/cjc (Reuters, AFP)