UK business chiefs have lost patience with the lack of progress in Brexit negotiations.

In a letter to David Davis, the Brexit secretary, five of the UK's biggest business lobby groups - among them the CBI and British Chambers of Commerce - have said that time is running out for the UK government to agree a transition deal before businesses begin to cut spending plans and prepare to implement their contingency plans for Britian's exit from the EU in March 2019. 

Notwithstanding that in her Florence speech, the UK prime minister, Theresa May,  proposed a strictly time-limited implememation period and was clear in her Article 50 letter that agreeing a transition period should "match as closely as possible to the current UK/EU relationship", the lobby groups have now called for the government to publicly state its position on the implementation phase to send EU negotiators the message that the UK government is in fact serious about, and ready to discuss, this economically critical issue.

The lobby groups warn that "failure to agree a transitional period of at least two years could have wide-reaching and damaging consequences for investment and trade, as firms review their investment plans and business strategies" and is a clear sign that UK businesses have lost patience with the lack of progresss in the Brexit negotiations - almost seven months after the prime minister triggered Article 50.

The communication is the latest in a number of warnings to the UK government that without an urgent breakthrough in Brexit negotiations, businesses are likely to take jobs and investment elsewhere to avoid as much uncertainty as possible. This warning comes in the same week as the boss of Goldman Sachs - one of the world's largest investment banks - stated on Twitter that he expects to be "spending a lot more time in Frankfurt from now on" - signalling his intention to relcoate jobs out of the UK to Germany.

Earlier this month, the Bank of England said that banks would look to activate their Brexit contingency plans if there was no deal on a transition period by the end of the year and in recent days, Treasury officials have started asking business groups whether they are preparing to offer their members advice on what to do in the event of a 'no deal'.