British firms do not have the resilience to cope with a no-deal Brexit after the battering of the coronavirus crisis, according to the outgoing boss of industry body the CBI.
Carolyn Fairbairn said a CBI member had likened a no-deal to "setting the shed on fire" while the house was in flames.
Brexit trade negotiations have not been going well between the UK and the EU.
A government spokesperson said the UK wanted to reach an agreement with the EU this year.
Dame Carolyn Fairbairn told the BBC that any buffers to cope with the additional cost and planning of an exit from the EU customs union and single market without a deal had been exhausted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The resilience of British business is absolutely on the floor," she said.
"Every penny of cash that had been stored up, all the stockpiles prepared have been run down.
"The firms that I speak to have not a spare moment to plan for a no trade deal Brexit at the end of the year - that is the common sense voice that needs to find its way into these negotiations."
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