The majority of British businesses are set to trigger Brexit contingency plans within the next six months if there is no transition deal on the table.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) warned that there must be an end to the Brexit "soap opera" to protect the UK economy, as it was revealed 60 per cent of firms are prepared to put contingency plans into action by the end of Match 2018.
“We need a single, clear strategy. A plan for what we want, and what kind of relationship we seek with the EU," president of the CBI Paul Dreschsler will say at the group's annual conference on Monday.
“At the moment, I’m reminded of a prime-time soap opera, with a different episode each week. First Lancaster House, then article 50, the European Council, two dinners with Juncker – and no doubt many exciting instalments to follow. Each one becomes the big story, until the next one rolls around. And the effect is that genuine steps forward such as the Prime Minister’s Florence speech don’t get the recognition they deserve," he will say.
He will hail that speech as "real progress" in brexit negotiations and call for the country to unite behind its sentiment.
“But time is of the essence. We must leave behind the episodic approach and take this opportunity to move forward as one – business and politicians, here and abroad. Everyone in this room," he will say.
The group's research found that 10 per cent of businesses have already started moving staff or slowing recruitment. A third of firms have created an internal taskforce or group to monitor Brexit while nearly 10 per cent have hired an external firm to help them manage their response to leaving the EU.