LOCAL businesses are being urged to make use of the Government's Brexit portal by Swindon Borough Council.

As the 50-day milestone to Britain's withdrawal of the EU on March 29 draws closer - with no political solution within sight - the borough council is urging firms to prepare by making full use of a website created by the government to help businesses in their Brexit preparations.

Councillor Oliver Donachie, Swindon Borough Council’s cabinet member for economic prosperity, said: “With a number of large multinational companies having their headquarters in Swindon, as well as a flourishing small business and start-up community, the Council considers it vitally important to help businesses prepare for what at this stage could potentially be a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

“The Government’s new advice website is extremely useful and I am sure it will act as a valuable tool for businesses as we slowly go about extricating ourselves from the European Union.

“We know just how important it is to keep Swindon economically competitive and local employers have highlighted the need for a highly skilled workforce to achieve this.

The councillor also spoke about the steps being taken to mitigate any skills shortages after Brexit at the borough-level.

Mr Donachie added: "Working closely with schools and colleges, the council has already taken steps to promote apprenticeships and increase the skills base in the borough.

“We are also working very closely with businesses large and small on a daily basis to ensure we continue to see high levels of employment and continued economic prosperity.”

To use the Government’s website, log on to https://bit.ly/2FvGety.

The Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership has also published information to help businesses prepare for Brexit, which is available here: www.growthhub.swlep.co.uk/topics/brexit.

After reeling from one of the biggest defeats in modern history the Prime Minister is expected to seek to get concessions from EU negotiators on the issue of the so-called Irish backstop this week.