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‘Get ready for no deal Brexit’, businesses in West Norfolk told

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Companies in West Norfolk are being urged to prepare for the possibility of a no deal Brexit, as the political stalemate over the issue continues.

Regional business leaders have also warned firms could lose millions of pounds in trade if an agreement is not struck.

There are now just four weeks left until Britain is due to leave the European Union, although Parliamentary votes this week have made the possibility of an extension more likely.

UK and European flag together. (6536987)
UK and European flag together. (6536987)

But officials from HM Revenue and Customs have today issued formal guidance to companies to get ready for a no deal outcome on March 29.

The organisation is urging companies to obtain an Economic Operator and Registration Identification (EORI) number, enabling them to continue trading in the EU, and draw up plans for how to make customs declarations.

Treasury minister Mel Stride said: “We want businesses to be able to continue trading with minimal disruption in any scenario.

“But we also know people tend to leave things until the last minute and we would urge businesses to act now.”

Richard Tunnicliffe, regional director of the CBI in the East of England, said exports to countries who have free trade deals with the EU are worth more than £4 billion a year to the regional economy and are at risk of being reduced substantially without a deal.

He said: “No deal is not an option for the UK and jeopardises jobs in our communities.

“It is vital compromise is shown on both sides of the Channel and politicians work quickly to come to a deal.”

But North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham yesterday insisted he remained optimistic an amended withdrawal agreement will be passed.

And he said ensuring Brexit happens is the only way of beginning the process of restoring faith in politics.

He said: “It’s been all encompassing. Trust in political parties and government is plummeting and it’s going to take a long time to recover that.

“I feel I owe it to my electorate to deliver Brexit.”

But Labour MEP Alex Mayer, whose party has indicated it will now back calls for a new referendum after its alternative proposals were voted down this week, said a vote should take place now.

She said: “Why the country is being forced to wait until nearly halfway through March for Parliament to have the opportunity to vote to rule out no deal and extend Article 50 is beyond me. This should happen right now.”

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