A Lib Dem MP hopeful said the country could be bracing itself for an "impending Brexit crash" as many businesses are not prepared for a no-deal Brexit.

Dr Geoffrey Seeff, a Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for Chingford and Woodford Green, said he fears for the 13,000 businesses operating in Redbridge and 10,000 operating in Waltham Forest.

He cited a report from the British Chamber of Commerce which surveyed its members and found that 41 per cent of business had not yet undertaken a basic Brexit risk assessment, a figure that includes 37 per cent of businesses that trade internationally.

He also cited findings from London First, a lobbying group for major London companies - 21 per cent of all firms lack the resources to devote to the tasks recommended and 32 per cent admit to not knowing where to begin given the uncertainty.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

The UK could leave the EU on October 31. Photo: Pixabay

Mr Seeff said: “From the various surveys it is clear that the majority of businesses are not likely to be in a position to cope with the complexities of the paperwork and restrictions they will in future face importing from and exporting goods and services to continental Europe.

“Even as the country braces itself for the impending Brexit crash, the financial and personal costs are mounting.

“Whilst the public is already finding difficulties in obtaining regular supplies of household goods and medicines as wholesalers start to stockpile.”

But Conservative MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, Iain Duncan Smith, said Mr Seef's comments were "typical scaremongering".

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

Iain Duncan Smith. Photo: Mark Soanes

He said just eight per cent of all businesses in the UK export to the EU, representing around 12 per cent of the UK's GDP.

He continued: “The Business Chamber of Commerce survey referred to was taken of only 1,500 businesses from 5.4 million businesses in the UK.

“The London First business survey was taken in Oct 2018, since then the scale of preparation from the government has massively increased providing an extra £4.1 billion of funding for Brexit and No Deal preparedness, including £20 million boost for councils announced in August to ramp-up preparations for leaving the EU.

“What makes this situation worse, is the leader of the Liberal Democrats has made it absolutely clear, far from helping businesses prepare for Brexit, the sole intention of the Liberal Democrats now, is to delay and Revoke Article 50; defying the democratic decision of the 2016 Referendum and the votes of the British people.

“I have already contacted over a 1,000 businesses directly in the constituency, and am continuing to do so, to bring them in touch with government offices and identify any issues and problems.

“In my local survey, I’ve asked businesses for comments on how they could be supported and many expressed concerns about local issues rather than Brexit, such as lack of car-parking facilities and the expansion of the ULEZ by the Labour London Mayor due to hit small businesses across our area.”

For government guidance on how to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, visit: www.gov.uk/brexit