When Cumbria Business Growth Hub asked businesses about their preparations for Brexit last month, barely half had started.

If you haven’t completed the survey yet, click here

It takes only a few minutes and the Growth Hub is feeding the results to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to help them tailor Brexit support and advice to meet businesses’ needs.

Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, the lead partner in the Growth Hub, said: “We’re keen for as many businesses as possible to complete this survey. It will help us to help you.

“The information gathered so far has been very useful.

“Some 48 per cent of the businesses surveyed haven’t started preparations, in most cases because they don’t know what to plan for.

“I’ve got sympathy with that view.

"We don’t know if Parliament will pass a version of Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement, whether we will leave without a deal or if Brexit might be delayed or even abandoned.

“But we think businesses should be making contingency plans for no-deal.

“There is a real possibility that the UK will leave on March 29 without a withdrawal agreement in place and that means no transition period. The impacts on business will be immediate.

“Even if you don’t import or export you may be affected if your suppliers do or if you supply another business that does.”

The chamber and Growth Hub have resources to help businesses plan:

Click here for a diagnostic tool to help you prepare for EU Exit. Answer seven questions to get advice tailored to your particular circumstances.

Click here to access the Government’s Prepare for EU Exit website.

Here for official advice on ‘no deal’ planning.

Here for the British Chambers of Commerce’s Brexit Hub.

And here for our preparing for Brexit podcast with Cumbria Trading Standards.

The Growth Hub’s survey reveals that, of those businesses that have started Brexit preparations, some have carried out risk assessments on their supply chains or raised stock levels as a precaution.

One has changed its marketing strategy to target non-EU customers.

Fifty-six per cent of those completing the survey expect Brexit to harm them, 19 per cent believe it will have a positive effect, 13 per cent say it will be neutral and 10% don’t know. One firm anticipates negative initial impacts but long-term benefits.

Those increasing stocks said it was having a negative impact on cashflow.

The survey has been completed by businesses in manufacturing, hospitality, retail, professional services, energy, IT, horticulture, food and drink, media, telecommunications, construction, and transport and distribution.