A leading business organisation says it is relieved the immediate threat of a no deal Brexit has been removed.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce has taken a neutral political stance on Brexit, but has carried out surveys and spoken to its members about what the UK leaving the European Union would mean to them.

Rob Johnston, chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, said: “Chamber advisers have been helping businesses prepare for no deal and we’ve delivered four Brexit-preparedness workshops in recent weeks.

“The feedback from businesses shows that many aren’t ready for no deal. The tariffs and extra paperwork around trade would be major shock to the economy.

“Chambers haven’t taken a stance on Brexit.

"By staying neutral, we can act as an honest broker to help businesses navigate whatever form Brexit takes. But we’ve been clear that a no deal Brexit is highly undesirable.

“The extension doesn’t remove the threat of no deal, it simply pushes the deadline back to January 31.

“We need an end to this. Chamber surveys show that many businesses are holding off on investment and hiring decisions until Brexit is resolved.”

Following a successful bid to the Government’s £10m Brexit Preparedness Fund, the chamber launched services to help all Cumbrian businesses prepare for the UK's exit from the EU.

It includes a hotline, on 0845 226 00 40, for people to speak to dedicated advisers who can help on any Brexit-related issue from trade to IP and employment and a Brexit section on its website.