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Northern Ireland firms are warned to make plans for Brexit

By John Mulgrew

Companies in Northern Ireland should accept that "Brexit means Brexit" and begin developing a business plan to deal with the EU vote, a report has said.

According to PwC's latest Northern Ireland Economic Outlook, assuming the UK will enjoy continued unrestricted access to the Single Market, or that Westminster will keep the current levels of EU financial support could mean businesses and "even complete sectors" become "complacent about their future competitiveness".

The latest report forecasts that a "deceleration in Northern Ireland's economic recovery" will continue.

However, it rules out an "outright recession".

PwC says the pace of recovery is threatened by a combination of global slowdown and post-referendum uncertainty.

The region's economic growth slowed from 2.2% in 2014 to 1.5% in 2015.

PwC says Northern Ireland can expect growth of only around 1.2% in 2016.

Esmond Birnie, PwC chief economist in Northern Ireland, said: "The outcome of Brexit is more likely to be favourable if the Executive can clearly identify its key priorities for a post-Brexit world and lobby vigorously for these to be included within the UK's negotiating position."

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