It’s far from clear whether the UK will leave the EU on October 31 as planned.

There’s a good chance that Parliament will frustrate Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s attempt to deliver Brexit by then.

But the EU is likely to grant only a short extension, perhaps to the end of the year, to enable the UK to hold a General Election.

If the Conservatives win that election, Brexit is likely to follow soon after.

Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “The continued uncertainty makes it difficult to plan.

“But we’re urging businesses to make contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit, which is now a very real possibility.

“No deal means no transition period. There will be immediate impacts for businesses, especially those that import or export who will have to contend with a raft of extra paperwork.”

The chamber is hosting a breakfast briefing in Kendal, on Tuesday September 24, to help businesses finalise their Brexit preparations.

This is a free event open to all businesses.

To attend, register here

Speakers include Simon Hart, a national authority on Brexit planning for the accountancy firm RSM, and Brexit specialists Robin Adams and Luke Donockley from the North East law firm Muckle LLP.

Luke has recorded a podcast for the chamber, which has been downloaded by more than 1,500 businesses to inform their Brexit planning.

Rob added: “The briefing will explore sensible and practical measures that businesses can take to minimise disruption to their operations.

“It will also consider the impact of Brexit in the context of other global shocks such as rising protectionism and climate change.

“We will conclude the briefing with a Q&A.

"This is an opportunity for businesses to understand what they need to put in place and to pick the brains of three leading authorities on Brexit planning.”

The chamber will provide an update on how it expects Brexit to affect Cumbria and will announce details of new services to help businesses through Brexit including extra help for exporters and importers.

In the meantime, the chamber is referring enquiries about Brexit issues to its Brexit Insight pages on the Cumbria Business Growth Hub website.

Rob said: “This is a formidable resource for businesses with sections on no-deal planning, tariffs and trade, IP, as well as tools and Luke’s excellent podcast.

“For example, if you need to know the tariffs that would apply to your products after Brexit, or you’re looking for assistance to help your EU staff register under the Government’s Settlement Scheme, it’s all there.

“We update Brexit Insight weekly and it’s noticeable that, in the last few weeks, we’ve been refreshing and adding a lot more information as the Government has stepped up no-deal preparations.

“We’ve recently added new information for social care providers and coach tour operators, for instance, and on importing and exporting animal products.

“I’d urge businesses to make use of Brexit Insight. We think it’s one of the most comprehensive Brexit planning resources available anywhere.”