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More than two thirds of Northern Ireland firms 'will revise business plans' following Brexit

By John Mulgrew

Published 16/08/2016

Ann McGregor (NI Chamber); Brian Murphy (BDO); Maureen O’Reilly (NI Chamber Economist) and Christopher Morrow (NI Chamber)
Ann McGregor (NI Chamber); Brian Murphy (BDO); Maureen O’Reilly (NI Chamber Economist) and Christopher Morrow (NI Chamber)

More than two thirds of firms in Northern Ireland say will revise their business plan following the Brexit vote.

And members of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry said they were most likely to freeze or pause investment plans, recruitment or growth plans.

The survey was carried out in July, following the vote to leave the EU.

But around a quarter of companies surveyed said they planned to expand or grow their businesses, after Brexit.

In its quarterly survey before the EU referendum outcome, one in four businesses in Northern Ireland said they had revised their plans due to Brexit.

That's according to the latest quarterly economic survey from the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce.

It found that a further 45% of firms also have plans to change or revise their business plans in the wake of the EU vote to leave the EU.

Around half also said they expect to revise investment plans.

Concerns raised also include what changes to the EU trading rules could mean, with 77% raising it as an issue.

And more than two thirds said the value of the pound is a major concern.

However, the survey carried out for the second quarter, before the vote, showed a modest upsurge in sales, employment and business confidence across most sectors.

Speaking about the post EU referendum findings, Ann McGregor, chief executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said:

"The lack of information available post Brexit is a concern for our members with a significant majority having already or expecting to revise their growth plans. There are particular concerns regarding trade agreements, labour movement and regional funding in particular. 

"NI Chamber, in a recent policy document, has called for ‘stability, clarity and action’ around these issues and the findings of the survey underline the need for this to happen. Businesses are clear that they require stability for markets and business confidence; clarity on the timeframe for key decisions and action to proactively support the economy at a sensitive time of transition."

Brian Murphy, Partner at BDO, said: “Northern Ireland businesses are no strangers to change and over the years they have shown just how adaptable they can be.

"The EU Referendum and its largely unexpected outcome has the potential to significantly change our market in a fundamental way. In the short term this change is unfortunately manifesting in a period of uncertainty."

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