The Chemicals Business Association was one of dozens of trade associations and chief executives to sign a letter to the Prime Minister warning of the consequences of a no-deal Brexit.

Representing a collective workforce of 20,000 people, the 100 or so signatories decried the tardiness of negotiations with the EU and reiterated fears a deal wouldn’t be done by the December 31 deadline.

The letter was sent to Boris Johnson on the day, June 30, the opportunity to extend the transition period expired.

CBA chief executive Peter Newport said: “The UK chemical industry is now more worried about the effects of a no-deal or a bad-deal Brexit than the effects of the pandemic.

‘’Having said that, a smooth flow of chemical industry products is critical for the economy to recover post Covid. They are the foundation of most industries.

“A good EU trade deal with close alignment on chemical regulation and standards is the only way to avoid chemical supply chain disruption and the resultant negative impact on the economies of both the UK and the EU .”

Highlighting the Government’s own conclusion that a no-deal exit would reduce GDP by 8% within 15 years, the signatories called for a reset in the tone and transparency of the negotiations during the six months remaining.

The best possible trading arrangements with the EU were needed, specifically when it came to upholding the common high standards in the areas of state aid, employment, environment, climate change and tax.

Critically, the businesses represented, most of whom are on the front line of trading with the EU, call for continued alignment with EU regulatory bodies, thereby allowing the free flow of products in the fields of pharmaceutical, medical and chemical supplies.

They are also calling for assurance of an equivalence agreement with the EU for financial services that is broader than the traditional arrangements and provides greater certainty.

Juergen Maier, former CEO of Siemens UK, said: “This call for needing a close relationship and deal with the EU comes at a critical moment of a transition extension being ruled out and business focused on recovering from Covid.

“This is not a call to reopen old divisions about remaining or leaving. What we now need is a common sense approach to our relationship with the EU.

“The Government must now deliver for us all, and on their promise to get a good deal, not a bad deal and definitely not a no deal.”