UK says businesses not ready for no-deal Brexit

LONDON (AP) – The British government says most businesses have not adequately prepared for the possibility of the country leaving the European Union without a divorce agreement.

The Department for Exiting the European Union said: “There is little evidence that businesses are preparing in earnest for a no-deal scenario.”

To support that assertion, the department said only 40,000 of the 240,000 firms that trade with the EU and would need a registration number to keep doing so in the event of a no-deal scenario had registered as of Tuesday.

On the government’s own preparations, the department says almost one-third of the “most critical projects” are not on track to be completed by the scheduled departure day, March 29.

It says short-term economic effects of a no-deal Brexit include a very significant reduction in goods flowing across the English Channel and “reduced availability and choice” of food items.

Prime Minister Theresa May said Tuesday that if lawmakers haven’t approved a withdrawal deal by March 12, Parliament will get to vote on whether to leave without one or try to postpone the day Brexit takes effect.

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