Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Business Brexit

Brexit: Northern Ireland business confidence could be 'shattered' as UK votes to exit EU

By Margaret Canning

Published 24/06/2016

Supporters of the Stronger In campaign react after hearing results in the EU referendum at London's Royal Festival Hall.
Supporters of the Stronger In campaign react after hearing results in the EU referendum at London's Royal Festival Hall.
Sinn Fein MEP for Northern Ireland, Martina Anderson, at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, for the counting of the votes in the EU referendum.
British comedian Eddie Izzard joins supporters of the Stronger In Campaign gather to wait for the result of the EU referendum at a results party at the Royal Festival Hall in London early in the morning of June 24, 2016.
Nigel Farage speaks to journalists at the Leave.EU referendum party at Millbank Tower in central London on June 23 2016
Leave.EU supporters wave Union flags and cheer as the results come in at the Leave.EU referendum party at Millbank Tower in central London early in the morning of June 24, 2016.
Remain supporters at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, after polls closed in the EU referendum.
Leave supporters at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, after polls closed in the EU referendum.
Caroline Wilson of Belfast City Council speaking with DUP MLA for Belfast South Christopher Stalford at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, after polls closed in the EU referendum.
Counting continues at Titanic Exhibition Centre as SDLP's Alban Maginness and Clare Hanna discuss progress
Titanic Count Centre - Belfast former Justice Minister David Forde
Counting at Titanic Exhibition Centre
Counting at Titanic Exhibition Centre as local politicians keep a close watch on progress
Supporters of the Stronger In Campaign gather to wait for the result of the EU referendum at a results party at the Royal Festival Hall in London on June 23, 2016.
SUNDERLAND, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 24: Leave campaigners celebrate as they win the vote in Sunderland during the North East region European Union referendum count on June 24, 2016 in Sunderland, United Kingdom.
The first box of votes is opened at Titanic Belfast
The first Ballot Boxes are opened in the Foyle Arena in Derry-Londonderry last night shortly after the polls closed in the Brexit referendum. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 23.06.16
SDLP Party Leader Colm Eastwood and Remain campaigner arrives at the count centre in the Foyle Arena in Derry-Londonderry. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 23.06.16
Boris Johnson and his wife Marina leave after casting their votes at Hanover Primary School in north London, as voters head to the polls across the UK in a historic referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave.
A man accompanied by his dog laughs as he exits a polling station after voting in the EU referendum on June 23, 2016 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
A dog is tied to railings outside a polling station waiting for its owner to cast their vote on the EU Referendum on June 23, 2016 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has gone to the polls to decide whether or not the country wishes to remain within the European Union. After a hard fought campaign from both REMAIN and LEAVE the vote is too close to call. A result on the referendum is expected on Friday morning. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
REDCAR, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 23: A man walks his dog from a polling station in a Youth Community Centre as voters head to the polls to cast their vote on the EU Referendum on June 23, 2016 in Redcar, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is going to the polls to decide whether or not the country wishes to remain within the European Union. After a hard fought campaign from both REMAIN and LEAVE the vote is too close to call. A result on the referendum is expected on Friday morning. Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
REDCAR, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 23: A dog plays on the grass next to a polling station sign attached to railings in Redcar as voters head to the polls to cast their vote on the EU Referendum on June 23, 2016 in Redcar, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
SALTBURN-BY-THE-SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 23: A dog is tied to railings outside a polling station waiting for its owner to cast their vote on the EU Referendum on June 23, 2016 in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, United Kingdom. The United Kingdom has gone to the polls to decide whether or not the country wishes to remain within the European Union. After a hard fought campaign from both REMAIN and LEAVE the vote is too close to call. A result on the referendum is expected on Friday morning. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
A woman waits with her dog outside a polling station in Little Milton on June 23, 2016. Millions of Britons began voting today in a bitterly-fought, knife-edge referendum that could tear up the island nation's EU membership and spark the greatest emergency of the bloc's 60-year history. / AFP PHOTO / ADRIAN DENNISADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images
GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 23: Duke, an eight week old Labrador Collie sits in a basket with his owner's EU referendum polling card outside Notre Dame Primary School polling station on June 23, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. The United Kingdom has gone to the polls to decide whether or not the country wishes to remain within the European Union. After a hard fought campaign from both REMAIN and LEAVE the vote is too close to call. A result on the referendum is expected on Friday morning. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Father Peter Burn of Clonard Monastery leaving Springvale Employment and Learning Solutions polling station in West Belfast as voters head to the polls across the UK in a historic referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave. Liam McBurney/PA Wire
©Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 23rd May 2016 First Minister Arlene Foster pictured at the polling station at Brookeborough Primary School Picture by Andrew Paton/Press Eye.com
WESTERHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 23: Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP and Vote Leave campaigner, poses for photographs after registering his vote in the UK's EU referendum, at his local polling station Cudham Church of England Primary School on June 23, 2016 in Westerham, England. The United Kingdom has gone to the polls to decide whether or not the country wishes to remain within the European Union. After a hard fought campaign from both REMAIN and LEAVE the vote is too close to call. A result on the referendum is expected on Friday morning. (Photo by Mary Turner/Getty Images)
WESTERHAM, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 23: Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP and Vote Leave campaigner, talks to the media outside his local polling station, Cudham Church of England Primary School, after registering his vote in the EU referendum on June 23, 2016 in Westerham, England. The United Kingdom has gone to the polls to decide whether or not the country wishes to remain within the European Union. After a hard fought campaign from both REMAIN and LEAVE the vote is too close to call. A result on the referendum is expected on Friday morning. (Photo by Mary Turner/Getty Images)
People queuing outside a polling station in Battersea, London, this morning, as voters go the polls in the EU referendum. Rebecca Soni/PA Wire
A polling station being used in the EU referendum at Batley Town Hall in the constituency Labour MP Jo Cox. Cox, 41, died after being shot and stabbed in the street outside her constituency surgery in Birstall, near Leeds. Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Chelsea pensioners are reflected in a puddle of rain water as they leave after being ushered into a polling station to cast their ballot papers at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, west London on June 23, 2016, as Britain holds a referendum to vote on whether to remain in, or to leave the European Union (EU). / AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
A Chelsea pensioner uses a smartphone to photgraph the media as he arrives at a poling station to cast his ballot paper at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, west London on June 23, 2016, as Britain holds a referendum to vote on whether to remain in, or to leave the European Union (EU). / AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Chelsea pensioners are ushered into a polling station to cast their ballot papers at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, west London on June 23, 2016, as Britain holds a referendum to vote on whether to remain in, or to leave the European Union (EU). Millions of Britons began voting Thursday in a bitterly-fought, knife-edge referendum that could tear up the island nation's EU membership and spark the greatest emergency of the bloc's 60-year history. / AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
British Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha leave after casting their votes in the EU referendum, at a polling station in London on June 23, 2016. Millions of Britons began voting Thursday in a bitterly-fought, knife-edge referendum that could tear up the island nation's EU membership and spark the greatest emergency of the bloc's 60-year history. / AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn walks with Labour Party activists as he leaves his home to cast his vote at a polling station at Pakeman Primary School in Islington on June 23, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JUNE 23: SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon casts her vote in the EU referendum at Broomhouse Community Hall on June 23, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. Voters across the country are beginning to cast their votes in the referendum on whether the UK should leave the European Union or remain. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Millions of Britons began voting today in a bitterly-fought, knife-edge referendum that could tear up the island nation's EU membership and spark the greatest emergency of the bloc's 60-year history. / AFP PHOTO / Robert PerryROBERT PERRY/AFP/Getty Images
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - JUNE 23: SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon casts her vote in the EU referendum with her husband Peter Murrel at Broomhouse Community Hall on June 23, 2016 in Glasgow, Scotland. Voters across the country are beginning to cast their votes in the referendum on whether the UK should leave the European Union or remain. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Daisy Treasure, one, outside a polling station in Newbury Park, near Ilford in Essex, as voters head to the polls across the UK in a historic referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave. Ella Pickover/PA Wire
A polling station being used in the EU referendum at Birstall library, West Yorkshire, near where Labour MP Jo Cox was attacked and killed outside her constituency surgery. Danny Lawson/PA Wire
A police officer stands outside a polling station being used in the EU referendum at Birstall library, West Yorkshire, near where Labour MP Jo Cox was attacked and killed outside her constituency surgery. Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves after casting his vote at a polling station in Islington, London, as voters head to the polls across the UK in a historic referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave. Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA Wire
Scotland's First Minister and Leader of the Scottish National Party (SNP), Nicola Sturgeon, poses for photographers as leaves after voting at a polling station at Broomhouse Community Hall in east Glasgow, on June 23, 2016, as Britain holds a referendum on whether to stay or leave the European Union (EU). / AFP PHOTO / Robert PerryROBERT PERRY/AFP/Getty Images
Nuns leave after casting their votes at a polling station in London, on June 23, 2016, as Britain holds a referendum on whether to stay or leave the European Union (EU). Millions of Britons began voting Thursday in a bitterly-fought, knife-edge referendum that could tear up the island nation's EU membership and spark the greatest emergency of the bloc's 60-year history. / AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISJUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
GIBRALTAR - JUNE 23: Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and his wife Justine vote in the EU Referendum at a polling station on June 23, 2016 in Gibraltar, Gibraltar. The United Kingdom and its dependant territories are going to the polls today to decide whether or not the the United Kingdom will remain in the European Union. After a hard fought campaign from both REMAIN and LEAVE the vote is expected to be very close. A result on the referendum is expected on Friday morning. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
GIBRALTAR - JUNE 23: Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and his wife Justine depart after voting in the EU Referendum at a polling station on June 23, 2016 in Gibraltar, Gibraltar. The United Kingdom and its dependant territories are going to the polls today to decide whether or not the the United Kingdom will remain in the European Union. After a hard fought campaign from both REMAIN and LEAVE the vote is expected to be very close. A result on the referendum is expected on Friday morning. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha arrive to cast their votes at a polling station in Westminster, London, as voters head to the polls across the UK in a historic referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Poll clerk Lana Kernan setting out the Polling Station sign at the Springvale Employment and Learning Solutions polling station in west Belfast, as voters go to the polls in the EU referendum. Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Prime Minister David Cameron and wife Samantha arrive to cast their votes at a polling station in Westminster, London, as voters head to the polls across the UK in a historic referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave. Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
Father Peter Burn of Clonard Monastery entering Springvale Employment and Learning Solutions polling station in West Belfast as voters head to the polls across the UK in a historic referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave.Liam McBurney/PA Wire
The Polling Station sign at the Springvale Employment and Learning Solutions polling station in west Belfast, as voters go the the polls in the EU referendum. Liam McBurney/PA Wire
Polling stations open across Northern Ireland as voting begins in the UK's referendum on remaining in the European Union. Voters cast their vote at Moneyrea Primary School polling station in Co. Down. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Polling stations open across Northern Ireland as voting begins in the UK's referendum on remaining in the European Union. Voters cast their vote at Moneyrea Primary School polling station in Co. Down. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Polling stations open across Northern Ireland as voting begins in the UK's referendum on remaining in the European Union. Voters cast their vote at Moneyrea Primary School polling station in Co. Down. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Polling stations open across Northern Ireland as voting begins in the UK's referendum on remaining in the European Union. Voters cast their vote at Moneyrea Primary School polling station in Co. Down. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Polling stations open across Northern Ireland as voting begins in the UK's referendum on remaining in the European Union. Voters cast their vote at Moneyrea Primary School polling station in Co. Down. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Polling stations open across Northern Ireland as voting begins in the UK's referendum on remaining in the European Union. Voters cast their vote at Moneyrea Primary School polling station in Co. Down. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye
Polling stations open across Northern Ireland as voting begins in the UK's referendum on remaining in the European Union. Voters cast their vote at Moneyrea Primary School polling station in Co. Down. Picture by Jonathan Porter/PressEye

Business confidence in Northern Ireland could be “shattered” by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, putting thousands of jobs at risk, it’s been claimed.

Some of Northern Ireland’s biggest employers in its most important sectors – including poultry giant Moy Park, financial services firm Citigroup and aerospace giant Bombardier —  had expressed fears about the impact on their business of Brexit. 

Sterling today experienced its biggest one day fall in 30 years, and £100bn was wiped from the FTSE.

Bombardier, which employs nearly 5,000 people in Northern Ireland and was behind the province's biggest ever inward investment project, said: "It is too early to speculate on potential outcomes/impacts of the UK now having voted to leave the EU.  As always, we are committed to our businesses, all our employees and our customers in the UK, and we will continue to work with the Government and other industry stakeholders to create the necessary business environment to ensure our future success."

Bank of England governor Mark Carney this morning said volatility “can be expected” in the wake of the Brexit vote but said the Bank is prepared to provide £250bn to support markets.

“As a backstop, and to support the functioning of markets, the Bank of England stands ready to provide more than £250bn of additional funds through its normal facilities.”

But for now, it’s officially business as usual, as two years of negotiations will take place over the process of withdrawing from the EU. 

But Ulster Bank chief economist Richard Ramsey said growth in the UK economy was likely to halve to below 1% next year — with growth in Northern Ireland likely to be even lower.

And IHS Global Insight said that is “substantially cutting” its GDP growth forecasts to 1.5% from 2% for 2016 and to 0.2% from 2.4% for 2017.

Max Mackin, owner of recruitment firm Reactive Recruitment, said he feared large numbers of redundancies could result as businesses watch how the UK economy rebounds from the shock of the Brexit vote.

He said: “The EU referendum caused a lot of companies here to hold back on their recruitment needs and probably caused businesses to lose out on potential revenue.

“Now that the vote is over... we could see a number of redundancies amid panic and a shattering of business confidence. 

“We’ve heard rumblings of large employers such as Citigroup say they will pull out of Belfast if we left the EU, so this is a very worrying situation.  We anticipate thousands of jobs in Northern Ireland could be at risk as a result of the referendum.

First Minister Arlene Foster — who backed the Brexit side of the debate —  said the vote was “a good result for the UK, for our nation state”. 

And in the Republic, Liam Lynch of Chartered Accountants Ireland said its government should play an active role in negotiations so that cross-border trade was not put at risk.

The CAI president said: “The Irish government must now ensure that the terms of the UK’s exit do not lead to unnecessary burdens and tariffs particularly on Northern Ireland businesses trading with the rest of Europe.” ”

CBI Northern Ireland director Nigel Smyth — who backed the Remain campaign — said: “The British people’s vote to leave the EU is a momentous turning point in our history. The country has spoken and it’s for us all to listen.

“Many businesses will be concerned and need time to assess the implications. But they are used to dealing with challenge and change and we should be confident they will adapt.

“The urgent priority now is to reassure the markets. We need strong and calm leadership from the Government, working with the Bank of England, to shore up confidence and stability in the economy.

“The choices we make over the coming months will affect generations to come. This is not a time for rushed decisions.

“The CBI will be consulting its members and business is committed to working with Government to shape the best possible conditions for future prosperity.”

IoD chairman Alan Taylor said three quarters of its membership had voted in favour of staying in the EU.

But now that the vote has taken place, “it is now up to our political leaders to negotiate a deal with European leaders which preserves the ability of firms here and across the UK to trade easily with the remaining member states”.

“One thing the UK Government must do is to guarantee the right to remain of EU citizens currently working in the UK. Many companies in Northern Ireland have EU nationals employed in key roles and do not want the disruption of losing valued staff.”

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest NI, said: "All of the factors which have made Northern Ireland a good place to start and grow a business, including our attractiveness as a location for investment, a base for research and development and as a trading partner, remain and will continue to provide the foundations upon which to grow our economy in the future.

"As part of the fifth largest economy in the world, we are confident that Northern Ireland will continue to succeed as an attractive location for inward investment, in particular from our largest target market, the USA; and that the reduction in corporation tax will play an invaluable role in creating a business-friendly environment to support job creation, based on the combination of tax, talent and value.

"As the EU sells more to the UK than we do to them, we are positive that mutually beneficial trading arrangements will ensure continued access to the EU market, whilst also having the freedom to develop new bi-lateral agreements in emerging markets and other geographies.

"Ultimately, Invest NI will continue to offer and deliver the fullest range of support to both local and internationally owned businesses to drive economic growth. We will also fully explore all potential new opportunities that may emerge following the referendum result.

"This is the message that I will take to the USA next week as I meet with potential new investors."

Online Editors

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph