Belfast Telegraph

New study highlights risk to Northern Ireland of pullout

By John Mulgrew

Northern Ireland's economy would be hit harder by a Brexit than Britain's, partly because of its land border with the Republic, according to a new report.

Oxford Economics' study said that "overall our modelling indicates that Northern Ireland's economy is likely to be relatively more vulnerable to the type of structural changes triggered by a UK exit from the European Union in comparison to the rest of the UK".

The report was commissioned by Stormont's Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to try and understand the economic implications of withdrawal.

The UK economy as a whole is predicted to shrink if it leaves the EU, but Northern Ireland will retract at a stronger rate.

The report said the main reasons for province being hit more heavily than elsewhere in the UK include stronger trade links with the Republic, compared with Britain.

Northern Ireland's "relatively high level" of foreign direct investment is another reason why the region could suffer.

Additionally, manufacturing could be hit harder than other areas of business.

The report said that Northern Ireland's manufacturing industry currently "has a relatively high dependence on the food, beverage and tobacco and transport equipment" sectors, which are more at risk.

The study added that, in the best scenario, the province would be unaffected by the potential disruption of leaving the EU.

The analysis was built on a wider project across the UK that examined nine alternative scenarios which could occur if there was to be a Brexit.

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