The Government’s failure to assess the impact that Brexit could have on individual sectors will make it much harder to anticipate bumps in the road, a leading food and drink lawyer has warned.

Dominic Watkins, head of food and a partner at DWF, said the apparent lack of preparatory work admitted by Brexit sectary David Davis was “alarming” – but said it was reassuring the industry had made its own assessments.

Watkins echoed Food and Drink Federation director general Ian Wright’s comments that leaving the EU was the biggest crisis for the sector since WW2, and warned that unresolved issues over trade tariffs could see a return to food inflation.

He said: “The fact the government haven’t done sector by sector analysis is alarming, but thankfully the food and drink industry has done a lot work, looking into what could happen.

“A lot of challenges are going to come up. Will there be opportunities? For sure. But it’s going to be a bumpy ride in the short term, and if the government doesn’t know where the bumps are, it makes it very difficult to avoid them.

“It’s concerning that the government doesn’t appear to have done necessary planning to make it work.

“Ian Wright, director general of the Food and drink Federation, has said this is the biggest crisis since WW2, and I don’t think he’s wrong about that.”

Watkins said the lack of clarity over the outcome would inevitably affecting business planning.

He said a failure to strike a deal could lead to more onerous trade tariffs, and higher food costs for operators and consumers.

He added: “Unless we have a deal which addresses these tariffs or removes tariffs, it is inevitable costs will be passed on.

“Margins are already wafer thin in the food industry, there’s very little space for them to reduce costs.

“Some food items are running at 30% or more inflation, some are 2-5%. With margins as they are, these costs have to be passed on.”