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Northern Ireland firms hit hardest by vote for Brexit, study claims

By John Mulgrew

Brexit has hit Northern Ireland harder than any other part of the UK, according to a survey. In research by website Company Check, more local firms said they had been affected by the vote than in any other region of the country.

Some 40% of companies said the result had had a negative impact on their operations. But despite that, two-thirds expected the economy to grow over the coming year, with some 43% fearing a decline.

The vast majority (83%) claimed local government was not doing enough to promote business growth.

The annual UK-wide survey was answered by 1,300 firms and carried out during November and December.

Katie Deverill, from Company Check, said: "The findings make for difficult reading, but it's important for us to see how businesses feel the nation performed last year compared with the rest of the country, warts and all.

"Brexit is already having a chilling effect on future business growth and there's also high levels of disaffection with local authorities when it comes to them supporting and nurturing business growth.

"The powers that be should take note of these figures and recognise that something in the current system just really isn't working."

According to the report, in Scotland 26% of those questioned said the vote had a negative impact on business, while the figure was 23% in Wales.

While the percentage of local companies that said they grew last year (65%) was in line with the national average, for the year ahead it fell to 60% -lower than anywhere else.

Percentage of companies that believe local government is not doing enough to encourage growth

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