NEARLY seven out of 10 chartered accountants believe the provisional agreement between the UK and European Union on Brexit issues in December does not do enough to clarify what the transition to EU exit will mean for business.

The online survey by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, published yesterday, shows 36 per cent of ICAS members believe the agreement is “quite unclear” with 32 per cent rating it as “not at all clear”. Only two per cent believed it was “very clear”, while 24 per cent considered it to be “fairly clear”.

The survey, in conjunction with law firm Brodies, shows ICAS members have become more upbeat about the prospects for a free trade agreement between the UK and EU. However, only a small proportion believe that continued membership of the single market will be the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

In the poll, conducted last month, 42 per cent of ICAS members forecast a trade deal, but not single market membership, would be the outcome of the Brexit talks. This was up from 36 per cent in the previous Brexit tracker survey in the autumn, carried out before the December agreement.

But only five per cent of ICAS members believed the UK would stay in the single market after Brexit, down from six per cent in the autumn survey. Prime Minister Theresa May has declared the UK will be leaving the single market.

About 25 per cent of ICAS members predicted the UK would leave the EU with no free trade agreement in place in the latest survey, down from 29 per cent in the autumn tracker.

Of the 310-plus ICAS members polled, 56 per cent were based in Scotland, 30 per cent were elsewhere in the UK, and 14 per cent were overseas.