The ominous warning comes from the City's policy chairman, Catherine McGuinness, with just just over five months until the UK is due to leave the European Union.

The City of London Corporation has told small and medium enterprises to “accelerate their preparations” for a no-deal Brexit.

The ominous warning comes with just just over five months until the UK is due to leave the European Union and in the wake of the latest summit that failed to deliver a breakthrough in talks.

It has prompted policy chairman Catherine McGuinness to warn firms of all sizes to prepare accordingly for all possible scenarios.

“Businesses need to be prepared for all possible outcomes given the Brexit discussions are currently at a deadlock. The clock is ticking ever more quickly so the time for firms to ensure they are ready for a no deal Brexit is now.

“This is why we are calling on all firms, especially SMEs, to prepare for a possible no deal and all the implications that might have for their business models. Larger businesses have been planning for some time to ensure they can serve their customers even in a no deal scenario, but it is concerning that many smaller organisations may not yet have realised the full impact.”

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) recently conducted a survey that found a huge disparity between the preparations of the largest companies and their smaller counterparts. 69% of micro firms (those with one-nine employees) have not completed a Brexit risk assessment, compared to 24% of firms with over 250 employees.

The City of London is home to 23,580 businesses, with 99% of these firms classified as SMEs. There are around 1,200 new start-ups in the Square Mile every year.

The BCC has put together resources to in a bid to help businesses prepare and undertake a ‘health check’.

The website’s Business Brexit Checklist also seeks to help companies consider the changes that Brexit may bring, and help to plan at both operational and board level.

Despite the warning Ms McGuinness is hopeful some form of deal can be struck that suits parties on both sides of the negotiating table.

“A no deal Brexit is not in the interests of either the UK or the EU so negotiators on both sides should work to avoid this scenario.”

 

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