There is only so much planning that can be done without any certainty, with possibly just weeks to go to the next Brexit deadline. Some will have been planning for the worst and hoping for the best. But we really should be able to do better than this.

Business communities across Scotland and the UK sometimes feel like we have been howling into the wind. For clarity, we want Prime Minister Boris Johnson to get a Brexit deal – not just get Brexit done.

The Prime Minister has often repeated his wish to reach an agreement with the EU, but businesses need to see these intentions turn into concrete reality. In the real world, companies are still facing a nail-biting period ahead and the unwanted prospect of a messy and disorderly exit on the 31st of October.

The reality is that neither the UK Government nor many businesses are fully ready for a no-deal exit from the EU on the 31st of October. No one should downplay the disruption and economic dislocation that would be caused by a messy departure. When the fate of NHS workers and the security of food and pharmaceutical drugs are up in the air, there should be no brinkmanship.

Our business communities couldn’t be clearer. A messy and disorderly exit from the EU on October 31st would be a hammer blow for business confidence, investment and future growth plans. The government’s top priority must be to avert it.

If an unwanted ‘no deal’ scenario comes to pass, businesses will expect a comprehensive response from the Treasury and the Bank of England — with help to support business cash flow, big incentives for investment, and action to stop the rises in upfront costs that firms are facing before they turn over a single pound.

We have heard the Prime Minister make fine words about capitalism, investment and productivity. All of these are crucial for business and prosperity. Yet fine words butter no parsnips. There’s a big difference between a list of buzz words and practical, real-world proposals that businesses can bank on in these turbulent times.

Since we have set a course for leaving the European Union, the life blood of investment has been stymied. Some projections suggest this has cost the Scottish economy as much as £3billion per year. And while we are hoping that the resilience demonstrated by Scottish companies means we will avert a recession in the third quarter of this year, when it comes to the fourth quarter – all bets are still off.

Companies need more detail on how the Prime Minister and his government will work with us to fulfil our shared aims of boosting investment, infrastructure and skills across the country. For Scotland to prosper post-Brexit, these critical issues cannot remain hopeful ambitions, they require urgent, concrete action.

Liz Cameron is chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce.