Bosses in Leamington Spa are warned that too many are not prepared for Brexit

From left, James Ahearne, Alessandro Stuart Di Bona, Matthew Davies, David Burton, Patrick McCallum and David Hooper.
From left, James Ahearne, Alessandro Stuart Di Bona, Matthew Davies, David Burton, Patrick McCallum and David Hooper.

Business leaders in the Leamington area have been warned that too many are not doing enough to prepare for Brexit.

The alarm was sounded at a gathering of business leaders from Coventry and Warwickshire that heard some firms could face serious disruption if they were not prepared for the UK's departure from the EU.

Bosses were told they needed to use the Brexit delay to get ready for the break with the European Union.

David Burton, chair of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce's Brexit Club, told delegates: "Many businesses have made preparations and I suspect that there are a few who are pretty fed up at having warehouses full of goods that they had stocked in the event of Brexit.

"However there are, of course, still too many companies who have not prepared and it’s vitally important that we continue to drive the message home that firms need to look at

how they might be affected and seek advice.”

Mr Burton's comments came at chamber meeting at the Holiday Inn, off Junction One of the M6, where delegates heard from representatives from Government, international trade advisers and legal experts.

He said: "We have tried to keep politics out of it and focus on the issues that affect businesses in our area.

"We haven’t even reached Brexit yet and until we get some kind of agreement, no deal cannot be ruled out.

"It’s difficult, however, to see another extension if we don’t get an agreement.

"It is still unclear what will happen with the transition period – will that now be extended to 21 months after we reach an agreement?

"It is important that we get clarity on this and so many other issues."

James Ahearne, international trade hub manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: "It is vitally important that businesses use the next few months to understand how the different Brexit scenarios could affect them and plan accordingly.

"If companies wait until October 31 to see how the Brexit talks play out then for many it will be too late and they could risk serious disruption to their business in the event of a No Deal.

“We don’t claim to have all the answers but we can help companies to scenario plan and areas such as getting Settled Status for workers from the EU can be sorted out now as it is something that the Government has given a definitive answer on, whatever Brexit looks like.”

Alessandro Stuart Di Bona, of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said a No Deal Brexit was still a possibility and the Government was offering a range of information for business in nine key areas including import/export and employing EU citizens.

David Hooper, of Hooper & Co International Trade, said that many of the processes he is advising firms to take will be relevant whatever the outcome of Brexit.

Patrick McCallum, of law firm Wright Hassall, offered an insight into what might change when it comes to contracts with EU clients or suppliers, while his colleague Matthew Davies,

gave an update on immigration and the processes businesses – and their staff – will need to take if they employ people from the EU.

Mr Davies said the Coventry and Warwickshire economy would prove to be resilient – whatever form Brexit takes – and there will be more immigration once the UK leaves the EU.