The growing sense of seriousness about the onset of Brexit was expressed last night when the Chancellor set this year’s Budget earlier than usual.

To avoid clashing with the final stage of Brexit negotiations in November, Philip Hammond confirmed the date of the Budget as 29 October- a week after a high-profile Brussels Brexit summit.

At the same time, the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) suggested in a report that delays of only half an hour at UK ports and the Irish border would risk one in 10 British firms going bankrupt.

Finance directors may soon be reaching for a hard hat if negotiations between the UK and the EU don’t take a turn for the better.