By Ian McConnell

THE Bank of England has underlined the need for UK banks to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, while Japanese car manufacturer Nissan has warned its giant Sunderland plant will be unsustainable without a free trade agreement with the European Union.

A spokesperson for the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street, responding to a report that Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey had told bank chiefs on Tuesday to step up plans for a no-deal Brexit, said: “It is fundamental to the Bank of England’s remit that it prepares the UK financial system for all risks that it might face. In performing that role, the Governor meets the leadership of UK banks on a very regular basis.

“As we have said previously, the possibility that negotiations between the UK and EU over a future trading relationship might not conclude in a deal is one of a number of outcomes that UK banks need to prepare for over the coming months”

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Ashwani Gupta, chief operating officer of Nissan, highlighted the importance of continuing tariff-free access to EU markets in the context of the Japanese car manufacturer’s commitment to Sunderland.

In an interview with the BBC, he highlighted the fact that the EU was the biggest customer of the Sunderland plant, which employs around 7,000 people.

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Asked about the Sunderland plant, Mr Gupta warned that a change to the tariff regime would mean it would be “not sustainable”.

Fears of a no-deal departure by the UK from the European single market have mounted in recent weeks amid signs that the two sides remain far apart on major issues. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out extending the transition period beyond the year-end.