EXPECT a rocky few months ahead for the UK economy as a result of more Brexit uncertainty, warns the Business West managing director.

Delays to the final agreement to Britain’s departure from the EU, largely down to political in-fighting, has frustrated Business West who have repeatedly issued calls for clarity over the terms of the deal.

Phil Smith, Business West’s MD, said: “The process of actually leaving the EU over the course of the last 30 months has felt simultaneously like the building of La Sagrada Familia in slow-motion and a three-legged sack race against Usain Bolt.

“Whilst progress against the government’s projected timeline has been painfully slow, the weeks and months seem to have passed by in an instant, and there are now less than 100 days until the UK leaves the EU.

“The next 100 days will be a torrid time as far as our region’s businesses are concerned. When they should be spending their precious time investing, innovating or finding new markets, businesses will be required to commit significant resources toward preparing for Brexit.”

Parliament is due to vote on a withdrawal deal on January 14 as Theresa May attempts to get further concessions from the EU.

If the deal fails to pass through parliament business leaders are fearing the worst possible outcome of a no deal Brexit - and are warning businesses to be prepared.

“Businesses might be tempted to stick their heads in the sand and see what happens in April,” added Mr Smith, “as the task of preparing for every eventuality is just too daunting to comprehend.

“To that I would say this: every business is able to make preparations to ensure a baseline level of business continuity and it’s never too late to start thinking ahead.

“Think about your customers, your supply chain and your workforce and try to mitigate risks wherever it is possible to do so. There is no one size fits all approach to preparing for Brexit, but please don’t panic.

“Put a realistic plan in place today that enables you to keep on trading regardless of the shenanigans in Brussels or in Westminster and you’ll be able to approach 2019 with optimism. Leave your Brexit preparations until the last minute and you’ll find that the first three months of 2019 will be a bit of a whirlwind!”

Business West is providing support for companies concerned about how Brexit might impact on them after March 29.

Trading Through Brexit offers advice and guidance on how to plan for Brexit at www.tradingthroughbrexit.co.uk