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Carney: Most firms not ready for a no-deal

Grim analysis: Bank of England governor Mark Carney PICTURE: WPA/GETTY

FEWER than half of British businesses are ready for a no-deal Brexit, the governor of the Bank of England warned yesterday.

Mark Carney told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘All the industries, all the infrastructure of the country, are they all ready at this point in time? As far as we can tell, the answer is “no”.

‘We know from our contacts, others know from their contacts, that less than half of the businesses in the country have initiated their contingency plans for a no-deal Brexit.’

The Bank has forecast a Chequers-style Brexit would leave the economy 3.9 per cent smaller within 15 years than remaining in the EU, but a hard Brexit could cost 9.3 per cent and plunge Britain into the deepest recession since the 1930s.

Mr Carney defended his analysis after Brexiteer Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg called him a ‘second-tier Canadian politician’, stoking ‘project hysteria’.

‘We have a responsibility to have systems ready for whatever happens,’ he said.

‘It’s not what’s most likely to happen. It’s what could happen if everything goes wrong, and we use that to help make sure things go better.’

Mr Carney insisted he did not have a ‘Brexit preference’ but called for a transition period of 18 to 24 months to allow businesses time to adjust.

‘It is in the interests of the country to have some time to transition to whatever relationship there is,’ he said.

‘For the economy as a whole, and in terms of putting in place the customs arrangements of the future, the question is — are those all in place? The answer is no.’