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Businesses putting growth and recruitment plans on hold over Brexit

Published 18/10/2016

Businesses in Northern Ireland have put growth plans on hold following the Brexit vote
Businesses in Northern Ireland have put growth plans on hold following the Brexit vote

A third of businesses in Northern Ireland have scaled back or put growth plans on hold due to the Brexit vote, traders said.

A quarter rolled back on recruitment plans amid uncertainty sparked by the UK's vote to leave the EU.

However, a fifth are planning to expand investment outside Northern Ireland - and some hope to increase the size of their operations following the poll, the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry said.

Its report added: "The outcome of the EU referendum has had limited impact on jobs, both national and non-national, as yet."

A survey of the last three months suggested a third of businesses have reduced or frozen their ambitions for growth because of the Leave vote.

Uncertainty amongst businesses around future prospects further intensified following the UK's vote to leave the EU, a Quarterly Economic Survey published by the Northern Ireland Chamber and business advisers BDO said.

Results suggest that whilst the economy is still growing, albeit more slowly, confidence around turnover and particularly profitability has fallen, recruitment intentions are lower and investment intentions have taken a significant hit.

Ann McGregor, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber, said: "Sterling's devaluation is a particular concern for members.

"It has provided a welcome boost to exporters, but it is putting significant pressure on costs, particularly for local manufacturers.

"This will impact on businesses' bottom line and we are already starting to see members' confidence around profitability particularly being eroded.

"It is only a matter of time before this will start putting upward pressure on prices."

Businesses were asked to consider how to fund public expenditure.

Just over one third of members believed that the Executive should consider further devolution of fiscal/tax raising powers (36%) like stamp duties, income tax and air passenger duty on short haul flights.

This is followed by the introduction of water charges to households (31%).

A fifth called for the introduction of tolling or road user charges and the removal of subsidy to public transport.

Press Association

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