Finance bosses turning more pessimistic over Brexit

The Icas and Brodies survey showed increasing negativity over Brexit. Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images
The Icas and Brodies survey showed increasing negativity over Brexit. Picture: Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images
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Financial leaders have become more negative over Brexit, according to a UK-wide survey by chartered accountancy body Icas.

The Icas Brexit Tracker, in association with law firm Brodies, analyses the impact of the Brexit process so far, and the likely impact of the UK leaving the EU.

We are still not getting any clear view on the outcome of Brexit negotiations

Mike McKeon

The latest survey, the second in the quarterly poll’s series, took place in May and June this year, including much of the general election campaign although not the result, and is based on responses from more than 530 chartered accountants across various sectors. The tracker also charts a range of responses from -50 (very negative) to +50 (very positive).

• READ MORE: Brexit and EU referendum news

It found that on average the sentiment regarding the experience of Brexit so far was slightly more negative (-9, compared with -6 in March). Expectations regarding the likely impact of Brexit on the individual and their organisation once the UK has left the EU were also more pessimistic (-14, compared with -10 in March), with the most negative score coming in -16 compared with -13 in March for the likely impact on the UK economy as a whole.

Mike McKeon, chair of the ICAS Brexit Advisory Group, said: “The survey reflects the fact that time is running on and we are still not getting any clear view of what the outcome of the Brexit negotiations will be.”

Regarding the outcome of the Brexit talks, there was an increase in the proportion of those surveyed who would rather see the UK remain as a participant in the EU Single Market after Brexit to 60 per cent from 52 per cent in March.

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The survey also touched on the implications for expats. Regarding how respondents’ colleagues are reacting to Brexit, the top response both for EU nationals living in the UK and vice versa, was considering relocation, at 36 per cent and 45 per cent respectively.

Christine O’Neill, chairman of Brodies, said: “Lack of political agreement on [their] position… appears to be leading individuals to take action to make their own situation more secure.”

However, a separate study published today commissioned by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM found that the majority of Scottish mid-market firms feel prepared for the UK leaving the EU.

The Brexit Monitor survey by YouGov found that 69 per cent of such businesses are prepared for the UK leaving the EU, one of the highest rates seen in Britain, but almost half believed that Brexit would damage the UK economy in the next five years.

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