Image: George Hodan Image: George Hodan

Business leaders in the UK have accused the government of leaving them "hung out to dry" over key issues relating to a no deal Brexit, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

The BCC said there are still 20 crucial questions that the government is yet to answer or resolve. But Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay told BBC Radio 4 that he had already met with the organisation to discuss those questions.

Which trade deals will be in place, how businesses will move staff between the UK and EU, and which rules to follow are just three of the biggest questions business leaders are looking for clarity on before the 29 March Brexit deadline.

At present, without a deal agreed by Parliament, the UK would be forced to trade under World Trade Organization (WTO) terms with countries it doesn't have already have a trade deal in place with.

The UK has 'continuity agreements' in place with Switzerland, Chile, Faroe Islands and Eastern and Southern Africa. Because these places have free trade deals in place with the EU, the continuity agreements will see free trade continue with the UK even in the event of a no deal Brexit.

The UK also has 'mutual recognition agreements' in place with Australia and New Zealand, where a product legally sold in one country can be sold in another.

Following a spell of warnings about economic growth, the BCC said the government's failure to answer businesses' key questions has already "stifled investment and growth".

BCC director general, Adam Marshall, said: "There is a very real risk that a lack of clear, actionable information from government will leave firms, their people and their communities hung out to dry."

"Businesses need answers they can base decisions on, no matter the outcome"