UK firms are increasingly anxious about Brexit, with more than half of those affected saying their ability to adequately prepare hinges on the ongoing trade talks, according to a new survey.
The Institute of Directors (IoD) business lobby group which carried out the survey called on the government to “pull out the stops to land a deal”.
Brexit trade discussions have been held up this week, with key issues such as fishing still separating the two sides, but only weeks to go until the transition period ends.
If a deal is not reached, the UK will fall out of the bloc on to World Trade Organization terms. That will mean a new set of rules for businesses to get their heads round and higher tariffs for some sectors such as carmakers.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to travel to Brussels to speak with EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen this week to try to help reach an agreement.
The IoD survey highlighted how firms are finding it hard to plan without a solid understanding of the future trading arrangements.
Among those affected by Brexit, 57 per cent said their ability to be ready was dependent on the outcome of the negotiations.
“Right now, Brexit is a moving target for directors. Trying to prepare, while dealing with the impacts of the pandemic, is a tall order,” said IoD director general Jonathan Geldart.
“As the PM heads to Brussels, getting a deal is still crucial. It will put organisations on both sides on much better footing, for the short-term and the long-term.
“No deal would hamper the recovery business leaders want to fuel in the new year.”
The survey showed that 74 per cent of firms thought avoiding tariffs on trade between the UK and EU was an important priority.