DESPITE the recent reprieve, our country has still not resolved the Brexit dilemma.

Manufacturing (and farming) is vital to the economy of County Durham. A no-deal Brexit would spell disaster for our businesses.

As long as the current deadlock remains, the prospect of a no-deal Brexit looms larger and larger.

We, representing a number of major employers in Bishop Auckland, believe that avoiding no-deal is paramount.

It is simply not an acceptable option and will disadvantage firms in the short and long-term. Our firms and communities are simply not ready for this outcome and preventing it is essential to protect the jobs and rights of people throughout the manufacturing industry.

We desperately need a Plan B – a deal which protects the economy and the Irish border, and is agreeable to a consensus in Parliament and the EU.

From the point of view of the UK business community, an acceptable outcome is a deal that maintains conditions that allow frictionless trade with the EU on sensible terms, freedom of movement of goods and people and deals with the complexities of the Irish border.

Such a close relationship is vital for local jobs and the future prosperity of our business community.

Preventing no-deal is not Project Fear – it is about facing up to economic realities and doing what is best for the community in Bishop Auckland and beyond.

Dick Searle CCMI, chief executive, The Packaging Federation