As we edge closer to a no-deal Brexit, warnings of how it could affect the economy and the lives of Britons are being issued on a daily basis.

This week we heard that a major British supermarket is considering rationing to avoid smaller businesses emptying their shelves in the event of a no-deal.

The supermarket was not identified but an executive said there were concerns that some stores had not made proper contingency plans and could use superstores as wholesalers to stock up on in-demand items.

Doctors leaders have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson with a strong warning about how a no-deal Brexit could affect patient care.

We also learned that the Government has told pharmaceutical companies to stockpile medicines and had put out to tender a contract for the express delivery of supplies from Europe.

The PM has insisted the country will leave the EU on October 31 whatever the circumstances.

Last weekend, the Sunday Times published details of the Government’s Yellowhammer Report - an examination of the worst-case scenarios in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The dossier predicted a three-month “meltdown” at British ports because 85% of lorries using the main Channel crossings “may not be ready”.

It warned that a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic will be likely, that there would be shortages of food and medicine, and of petrol import tariffs “inadvertently” leading to the closure of two oil refineries.

It also forecast protests across the UK which could “require significant amounts of police resources”.

Michael Gove, the minister in charge of no-deal planning, said it was an “old document” that only looked at “what the very, very worst situation would be”.

He added preparations had been stepped up since the report was first published.

The government is leading preparations and guidance so far is for local authorities not to stockpile food for schools or care homes or drugs for care homes.

Mandy Nagra, executive chief operating officer for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and executive lead for Brexit planning, said: “While planning for Brexit is being led by the Department for Health and Social Care, we are working with our partners locally to ensure we are all sighted on any potential issues.

“We are also working through possible scenarios, as we do routinely as part of our emergency planning for business continuity.”

Cumbria county council is understood to have established an officer-led Brexit working group to prepare for certain scenarios.

When asked to comment, a spokesman said: “Brexit is a Government led issue and as such all local authorities are following the guidance as laid out by government.

“Cumbria County Council is carefully monitoring developments and their potential impact on services and communities in Cumbria, whether there is ‘a deal’ or ‘no deal’. “

County business leaders are concerned at the repercussions of a no-deal exit from the EU.

Jo Lappin, chief executive of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership said the LEP’s nine business groupings had recently updated their reports on the impact of Brexit on the county to include the effect a no-deal Brexit would have.

“The issues we identified in December are still the issues, it is about the scale of the effect, not what it would be.” she said.

“We have said ‘how do we work collectively to identify the issues and work with the government to make sure we have a serious response to the issues.”

She explained: “Depending on the size of the business, they are extremely ready and prepared, or for some of our smaller businesses, they are still in a ‘wait and see’ mode.”

Mrs Lappin said the LEP had paid particular attention to logistics and the consequences of licences needed for European transaction issues around disruption and the need to mitigate those.

She said they had worked directly with the government to flag these concerns.

“The government has listened. We have seen a recognition and a response.”

Chief executive of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce Rob Johnston fears a no-deal Brexit.

In March, the group asked if businesses had prepared for Brexit and half of those who could be affected, admitted that they had done nothing.

Mr Johnston said little had changed, adding: “A lot do not know how they will be affected because they are part of a supply chain and do not know what will happen to that.”

He warned that business were likely to be hit harder than expected, saying: “To talk about a loss of business in percentages shows a real misunderstanding of how tight margins in businesses are.

“It is difficult to absorb costs and stay competitive.

“We have seen an increase in the number of businesses looking to hedge the currency and that indicates business is expecting a bumpy ride with sterling falling.

“That has been quite surprising.”

It is widely accepted that agriculture will be the most-affected Cumbrian industry by a no-deal Brexit.

It is widely accepted that agriculture will be the most-affected Cumbrian industry by a no-deal Brexit.

The county is home to the country’s largest sheep flock and second-largest dairy herd.

Ian Bowness is Cumbria NFU deputy chairman and farms dairy and beef near Wigton.

He said: “It is very difficult if you have a business to be prepared for something you don’t fully understand the implications of.

“People will certainly be put under pressure. Suppliers will be put under pressure.

“There will be some difficult decisions to make. If you can’t make a living from your farm, then you have a decision to make.

“Everyone is well aware of the impact if you are in the sheep and beef sector. The difficulty is what else do you do?”

Meanwhile, pro-remainers have formed the Cumbria for Europe group.

Chairman Dr Julia Aglionby said: “The Group will be campaigning for a second referendum to decide whether to leave the EU without a deal or to remain. If a second referendum is achieved, then we shall be campaigning to Remain.

“We are all far more knowledgeable now about the effects of leaving the EU and we did not vote to leave without a deal. We believe that before any decision is taken the people should have the final say.

“The reality of a no-deal in our daily lives is now coming front and centre of people’s minds. People are extremely nervous about the consequences and immediate effects.”

The group is encouraging Cumbrians to go to London for the People’s Vote March on October 19.

Mrs Lappin underlined the fact that such a period of change would throw up opportunities for the county.

“How do we work together in a changing economic climate to say ‘where are the opportunities and how do we capitalise and promote Cumbria as a great place to do business and live?’

“In times of uncertainty there is opportunity.”

Rob Johnston added: “What hit us about the Yellowhammer report is that the British economy is so sophisticated that even professional observers find it difficult to measure the impact of something so transformational to our economy as this.

“Coming out without a deal will hurt everybody, but it will hurt us an awful lot more than the rest of Europe.

“The idea of coming out on World Trade Organisation terms is really scary.”