A leading business organisation has warned companies across Coventry and Warwickshire to take urgent action now to prepare for Brexit.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce says uncertainty around the path the UK is taking in exiting the EU has caused many firms to put off vital preparations.
The regional Chamber, in conjunction with fellow Chambers in the West Midlands and across the UK, carried out a survey among companies to find out what action they have taken.
And 50 per cent of the companies across the West Midlands said they are yet to carry out a risk assessment on the impact that Brexit would have on their business – despite the exit date being less than two months away.
The Chamber has supported hundreds of firms across the region to prepare for the EU exit since the referendum in 2016 but is urging companies from right across the patch to make sure they have done everything they can to be ready.
Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Around 47 per cent of the companies surveyed in our region said they had carried out a risk assessment, which is relatively high compared to the national average.
“However, to have half the firms on our patch still saying they’ve done no form of preparation is a major concern.
“In our view, there is so much noise around Brexit that it’s made companies believe they don’t need to be ready. The original date shifted, there’s been a change of Prime Minister, there have been calls for a second referendum and there have been some advocating No Deal.
“Some businesses maybe thinking that they will just wait and see what transpires but they should move now to see what preparations they can make as a matter of urgency.”
More than a quarter of companies said they would revise recruitment plans should the UK leave without a deal and revert to WTO rules while 36 per cent said they would revise investment plans.
Seventeen per cent of firms said they planned to move some or all of their business overseas in the event of no deal.
Bennett said there are schemes already available that could help firms who trade overseas to be better prepared for October 31, whatever the final outcome.
She said: “The Chamber has been clear from day one that we want to avoid a messy, disorderly Brexit from the EU but with less than two months left it’s not clear whether that will be achieved.
“However, there are opportunities for our exporters and importers to take advantage of schemes that could reduce any issues they may come up against at the borders.
“Our team at the Chamber is well-versed in schemes such as Authorised Economic Operator (AEO), Transitional Simplified Procedures (TSP) and Customs Comprehensive Guarantee (CCG) and can offer advice on those and other opportunities to mitigate the potential for disruption.
“The Chamber successfully campaigned for EORI numbers – which are critical for trading across borders – to be automatically issued by Government and we’d now urge them to auto enrol companies to make the process easier.”
To access advice from the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce to prepare for Brexit, call 024 7665 4321 or go to www.cw-chamber.co.uk
To take a free Brexit health-check go to: https://www.greaterbirminghamchambers.com/BrexitHealthCheck