A £40 million whisky distillery complex has been rocked by Brexit, The National can confirm.

It was hoped that the Scottish Borders facility would bring visitors and jobs to the area when authorities gave it the green light two years ago.

Mossburn Distillers, which is part of the empire controlled by Swedish billionaire Frederik Paulsen, started planning the major project at a former hotel in 2013.

Now known as Mossburn House, the Jedforest Hotel stands five miles south of Jedburgh and dates back to the 18th century. Blueprints approved in 2017 include a cafe with seating for 140 people and malt-making facilities capable of producing 25 million litres of the spirit every year.

But today The National can reveal that bosses have ordered work on the project – which promised 50 jobs – to slow down over political uncertainty in the UK.

Several sources close to the venture have confirmed Brexit is at the heart of the move.

One said: “There’s not a funding problem. They’re just not investing any money in the UK.”

READ MORE: Scottish Whisky Association demands clarity on Brexit

Incorporated in 2013, Mossburn Distillers – which has a 25-year business plan for the Borders venture – is owned by Marussia Beverages, which submitted the planning application in 2016.

This included two distilleries at the site, a bottling hall, warehouses, offices and a visitor centre, with construction to take place in two phases.

London-based Marussia Beverages is the UK subsidiary of Dutch parent company Marussia Beverages BV, which holds brands including Black Ship blended Scotch and sells its products across 31 countries.

It is a holding company for Swedish group Haydn Holding AB, whose board members include pharmaceutical magnate Paulsen, an adventurer who has been given honours by institutions around the world. These include an honorary degree from Dundee University and an honorary fellowship from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society.

Jedburgh councillor Jim Brown said the loss of the big-money scheme would be a “bombshell” for the area. The SNP politician cited Brexit and whisky tariffs levied by Donald Trump on exports to the US – a key market – as factors threatening international deals and investment.

But Neil Mathieson, chief executive of Mossburn Distillers, told this newspaper that the project had not been axed, with the razing of a former filling station at the Camptown site slated to begin in the coming week.

However, he confirmed political uncertainty had caused the company to pull back on progress.

He said: “The work has not stopped but it is going slowly whilst the political situation in the UK unfolds.”

Responding, Brown said: “It’s been estimated that current outlay on this project so far is around £5m.

“It appears that due to political uncertainty linked to Brexit and the danger of the UK leaving the single market and customs union, this project is to be slowed down.

He added: “This is what we can expect with Brexit and withdrawal from the single market and customs union. I can understand why blue-chip investors appear to be giving the Borders a wide berth.

“The 50 jobs attached to this are absolutely massive for the local area. The biggest employer in the town currently has a workforce of 50-100 and this would be up there among the biggest employers in the vicinity.

“What we need to see now is the local community given a more accurate timescale.

“The loss would be a hammer blow to Jedburgh but this starkly illustrates why Borderers must say no to Brexit.”