Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has met with business leaders in Carlisle.

He held a breakfast briefing at The Halston and among the invited guests was Julian Whittle, of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce.

He told Mr Carney, on behalf of the chamber, that Cumbria’s economy was in good shape but many businesses were ill-prepared for a no-deal Brexit.

Mr Whittle, the chamber’s business engagement manager, said: “He was keen to understand more about Cumbria’s economy and how businesses here are preparing for Brexit.

“In many ways Cumbria isn’t typical. Eden and South Lakeland have very low unemployment and our working-age population is shrinking. That makes it tough for employers to recruit staff.

“The strength of the nuclear and defence sectors here has made our economy resilient and less prone to cyclical swings.

“That said, we know from our recent Brexit-readiness survey that some Cumbrian businesses are worried by the prospect of the UK leaving the EU without deal.

“Less than half those who completed our survey had started Brexit preparations. And while 57 per cent expect Brexit to harm their prospects only 19 per cent think it will help them.

“Most of those are in the tourism sector where a further fall in the value of the pound could attract more overseas visitors while encouraging Brits to take holidays in the UK.”

Businesses completing the chamber’s survey raised concerns about the potential for tariffs, customs delays and increased paper work in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Some complained that the weakness in the pound since the EU had pushed up the cost of imported goods and raw materials.

Those that had started Brexit preparations adopted a range of measures including pausing recruitment and investment, currency hedging and stockpiling supplies.

Some are targeting new export markets outside the EU or new customers they believe will be less vulnerable to Brexit.