Roughly 150,000 UK businesses are not ready to keep exporting to the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit, Mark Carney has said.
The Bank of England governor said the companies still did not have the necessary paperwork and while many had built up contingency stocks, these would only last “weeks”.
“Business will be reliant on what the governments are able to do in order to keep the ports open, the trade flowing,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.
Carney said the UK’s financial system would be resilient in the event of a no-deal Brexit, and that three-quarters of UK businesses have done as much as they can to prepare.
“But it doesn’t mean they are fully ready, in fact far from it,” he added.
Carney also rejected a claim by Tory leadership frontrunner Boris Johnson, who said the UK could secure a 10-year grace period to avoid paying EU trade tariffs after a no-deal Brexit.
The Bank of England boss instead stated the return of trade tariffs on goods shipped to the EU would be “automatic”.
“We should be clear that not having an agreement with the European Union would mean that there are tariffs, automatically, because the Europeans have to apply the same rules to us as they apply to everyone else,” he said.
Carney last night spoke at the annual Mansion House bankers’ and merchants’ dinner in the City, in what was likely his last ever speech at the famous event.
The outgoing governor praised Facebook’s proposed global payments system and said the Bank will carry out a stress test on financial institutions to see how they would cope with a climate crisis.
But the speech was overshadowed by an incident in which Tory MP Mark Field appeared to grab a climate change protestor and forcibly eject her from the room.