April's edition of CA Magazine will carry the first results of the Brexit Tracker - developed by ICAS in association with Brodies.

The aim of the Tracker is to monitor changes in business confidence and business planning activities over the coming months as the shape of a Brexit settlement becomes clearer.

At Brodies we will use the Tracker's findings to help further develop our own advisory services for clients planning for Brexit.

The Tracker aims to identify the key priorities of small, medium sized and larger businesses for a post-Brexit UK.

The majority of ICAS members who took part in the survey identified the need to minimise regulatory barriers as their top priority.

For larger businesses - with more than 250 people - the next highest priority is the ability to recruit EU nationals into UK- based roles.

That reflects our own experience and the demand that we have seen for advice on obtaining permanent residence and British citizenship.

Shortly after the Referendum we published a Guide to UK Citizenship for EU citizens living in the UK and we have also developed a Q&A Factsheet on Movement of People that provides guidance on this issue.

We are also able to provide practical advice and support to employers, employees and their families who may be making applications for residence or citizenship, or who have encountered difficulties in doing so.

The desire to see the UK enjoy a free trade arrangement with the EU and/or to maintain access to the single market is also high on the list of priorities for businesses responding to the survey.

There remains a good deal of confusion about the different kinds of trade relationship that the UK might ultimately have with the EU - whether involving a customs union, the single market or neither.

On the possible options, see our article on alternatives to EU membership.

The ICAS Brexit Tracker also aims to monitor business confidence as the negotiations progress.

At this stage the overall findings for both smaller and larger businesses that responded to the survey was that there was an expectation that Brexit would have a negative impact both on the respondent's business and on the UK economy as a whole.

We hope to drill down on those results in future Trackers to understand whether there is any link between those negative expectations and the extent to which businesses have taken positive steps to plan strategically for a new relationship with the EU.

Christine O'Neill is Chairman of Brodies LLP. For pragmatic and informed legal advice on the issues raised by Brexit visit the Brodies Brexit Hub.


Christine O'Neill KC

Chair & Partner