Food firms ‘face extinction in 6 weeks in worst threat since 1939

A number of British businesses are at risk of “extinction” if a no-deal Brexit goes ahead, the head of the Food and Drink Federation has claimed.

The warning comes after the UK food industry threatened to break off cooperation with the government because of the “catastrophic” risk of leaving the EU with no deal in place.

The Food and Drink Federation sounded the alarm today over what it branded the worst threat to businesses since 1939.

The prospect of a No Deal departure has ramped up as talks remain deadlocked 45 days before the UK leaves the EU.

Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The simple fact is that this is the biggest threat that our members and businesses have faced since 1939.

“Many businesses are threatened with extinction.

“A no deal Brexit would lead to considerable concerns for one in 10 of our businesses.”

Mr Wright warned extra checks could create chaos for lorries at ports like Dover, with authorities unable to cope.

“Something like one in four food exporters, faced with the disruption that the government expects to see at the ports, could go out of business within six weeks,” he said.

“It’s that serious and I don’t think people are taking this threat seriously enough.”

And he said: “This is really really scary and I don’t think any amount of planning could get us ready for this.”

The warning came as Theresa May will today beg MPs to “hold our nerve” – with an ally admitting the final Brexit vote may only be a WEEK before March 29.

Such a last-minute showdown would force wavering Labour MPs to make a choice between Mrs May’s unpopular deal and a disastrous No Deal Brexit .

With 45 days left, Mrs May is expected to plead for more time in her House of Commons statement at 12.30pm – immediately after a meeting of the Tory Cabinet.

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