British firms ready to trigger Brexit contingency plans as early as next month

British businesses are gearing up to trigger Brexit contingency plans as the deadline for a deal looms closer.

According to the Confederation of British Industry who surveyed a broad spectrum of companies, 40% said they’re standing ready to begin enabling their post-Brexit strategies within the next four weeks should further clarity on the potential divorce deal with the EU not come to light.

Those contingency plans for many include cutting jobs, stockpiling goods and adjusting supply chains.

Businesses are also pausing investment plans, including in new jobs and wages, to review and assess the potential final deal and safeguard against a no-deal scenario.

And despite Michel Barnier and Theresa May both claiming the deal was between 90% and 95% done respectively, the former also admitted that wrangling over the Irish border could sink the entire deal at any time before the pen marks the dotted line.

Caroline Fairbairn, CBI director-general said of the results of their survey that: “Unless a withdrawal agreement is locked down by December, firms will press the button on their contingency plans.

“The knock-on effect for the UK economy would be significant. Living standards would be affected and less money would be available for vital public services including schools, hospitals and housing.

“Uncertainty is draining investment from the UK, with Brexit having a negative impact on 8 in 10 businesses.

Read more: Many exporting SMEs yet to factor in Brexit

“From a multinational plastics manufacturer which has cancelled a £7m investment, to a fashion house shelving £50m plans for a new UK factory, these are grave losses to our economy.

“As long as ‘no deal’ remains a possibility, the effect is corrosive for the UK economy, jobs and communities.

“The situation is now urgent. The speed of negotiations is being outpaced by the reality firms are facing on the ground.

“Unless a Withdrawal Agreement is locked down by December, firms will press the button on their contingency plans. Jobs will be lost and supply chains moved.”

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