Brexit was on the agenda as business owners from across the county met to discuss what the future holds.

Key figures from local organisations met for a Brexit conference hosted by Harrison Clark Rickerby’s at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern.

Guests from a range of business sectors including advanced manufacturing, health and social care, education, agriculture, professional services, finance and construction and engineering were in attendance and a panel discussion was held with speakers including Richard Butler, regional director of the CBI, giving their predictions for the outcome of the current Brexit deal.

Mr Butler said: “No-one in the EU wants a no-deal Brexit – that is the least favoured option.

“We have some success in getting the Government to take on board the business issues.

“They have acknowledged the need for frictionless trade, but we have not made as much progress as we would like on migration issues.

“We are cautiously optimistic that Theresa May will be able to get something through Parliament; they may not want what is on the table, but they want a ‘no deal’ even less.

Frank Myers, chair of Herefordshire’s Business Board, said: “We need to redouble our exporting efforts, especially if we can now sell anywhere.

“What concerns me is the paperwork and how that will increase – I sold £1,400 of goods to Switzerland which they certified as being of EU preferential origin. I then had someone from HMRC come to my office for four hours to check that that was correct; I am concerned about whether that kind of bureaucracy will get worse.

After the discussion a vote was held to see if delegates would change their mind in a potential second referendum. 82% said they would vote the same way now as they did in the referendum, with 46% now less confident of their business success post-Brexit than they had been a year before.

While 32% have explored markets outside the EU since the referendum, 43% still believe that EU membership in some form is the best option for the UK economy.