BUSINESS leaders have warned not a single company has been able to fully prepare for Brexit, with crucial systems only becoming available days before the January 1 deadline.

Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said companies urgently needed information to allow them to carry out the “nuts and bolts” of doing business, rather than UK Government guidance only giving “generalities”.

Speaking at an event held by The Institute for Government think-tank on Friday he said some businesses were more informed about the challenges they face than others.

But he added: “Not a single one of them would say to me or you that they are completely prepared – because they lack the detailed information required in order to do that last mile and in order to say I know at midnight on the January 1 that I will be able to move people, I will be able to move goods, I will be able to move data around with certainty.

“Not a single company in the United Kingdom can say that today.”

Marshall called for UK ministers to focus on sorting out delays at UK ports, which is causing disruption such as Honda halting production for two days at its Swindon plant due to a shortage of car parts.

“There is already a massive pre-existing business problem with flow of goods through ports in this country,” he said.

“We’ve got Covid related issues where the logistics system around the world is under stress, we’ve got Christmas, which adds additional volume and is causing problems and we have this change on the January 1. We have got to get the ports moving.”

Sally Jones, trade strategy and Brexit lead at EY, said Covid had “ripped apart” Brexit preparations for businesses. She criticised a lack of information from the UK Government, as the vast majority of changes were “inevitable”.

She added: “The fact we have got a situation where UK traders will not be able to access the customs declarations systems until December 23 is crazy.

“How is any business supposed to be able to find out whether it can use the system when you have got a week ... to do so?”