Business leaders in the north and north-east of Scotland are urging the government to think twice before drawing the Brexit process out even further.
Chambers of commerce chief executives have all expressed frustration with the handling of the process to date and said their members were still no clearer on dealing with the UK’s impending divorce from Europe.
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “The 2016 vote to leave the EU triggered the greatest period of change of our lifetime to the political, economic and business landscape.
“And there is still no clarity as to the shape of the final Brexit deal.
“There are no words that can be used in a family newspaper to describe the frustration, impatience and growing anger among business after almost three years of discussions with the unwelcome prospect of a messy and disorderly exit from the EU on March 29 seeming a likely outcome.
“What is sure is that the entire nation is being let down by our parliamentary representatives, of all persuasions.
“Every second that ticks by sees more businesses spending money on unwanted changes, activating contingency plans or battening down the hatches and halting investment, as they try to anticipate a future that is no clearer now than it was in June 2016.”
Trudy Morris, chief executive at Caithness Chamber of Commerce, added: “More broadly, and perhaps of greater concern to many businesses, is how much of the day-to-day business of government is being delayed or ignored while the Brexit process is ongoing.
“Energy policy, transport issues, business taxation and much more all seem to have taken a back seat.”
Stewart Nicol, chief executive, Inverness Chamber of Commerce said: “I’m extremely worried about the potential for significant damage to sectors like tourism and food and drink.
“Much of the hospitality industry’s workforce includes staff from EU countries. Most of those affected are also SMEs and are unable to meaningfully plan for the future.”
And Sarah Medcraf, chief executive, Moray Chamber of Commerce, said: “The government should now set out clear plans of what it aims to do, which should avoid the damage a messy Brexit would cause to businesses, communities and our economy.”