THE on-going, seemingly unsolvable, conundrum that is Brexit continues to frustrate and infuriate the business community. As it stands, we now have Brexit uncertainty extended by six months to October 31.

Government has been given a lifeline learn from its mistakes. It is of paramount importance that as a country we don’t use this extension to lay back and relax for four months then panicking for the remaining two. Government should use this time to work with the EU to offer business as much certainty and clarity as possible on the future relationship.

The ongoing confusion about the withdrawal agreement and the future trading deal is all factoring into the uncertain times we find ourselves in. Despite the Easter break, we’re still in the midst of a Parliamentary civil war, shown by the indicative votes which highlighted that no option has a majority from Parliament.

In simple terms the agreement does not set out the relationship with our biggest marketplace, the EU.

This means that the UK could be binding itself to leave on hugely unfavourable terms without the ability to pull back. The Leave campaign was centred on a brighter future, and we should expect no less.

It is incredible that two years after the vote, members still don’t know how much their costs could change or how to ensure the quality and competitiveness of their products going forward. More and more we are also seeing stockpiling being increased dramatically, impacting on cash flow and creating pressures on warehousing. The statistics of Government’s handling of Brexit speak for themselves. We have now had two years of negotiations and we have barely progressed an inch. This is symbolic of the ineffective leadership and isolated approach pursued throughout the Brexit process.

The damage being done to our economy is clear for all to see in our latest Quarterly Economic Survey. It showed businesses are being affected by their concern about competition and increased materials costs.

Ongoing uncertainty has led to decreased recruitment and investment plans on the year. The impact of Brexit is really hitting home and damaging us more than ever.

Although it may seem impossible, I am trying to remain optimistic about our future. These next six months will be crucial in determining our economic future, but if we see a new and engaging approach to Brexit, I am hopeful we can secure a Brexit outcome that works for the drivers of our economy.

James Ramsbotham is chief executive of the North East England Chamber of Commerce