Belfast Telegraph

Economy to go private, says survey

By Heather McGarrigle

Most Northern Ireland company leaders believe the economy will become less reliant on the public sector over the next 10 years, a survey by Barclays Corporate has revealed.

Ulster firms are also the most optimistic in the UK when it comes to expectations that local infrastructure will be able to support business in the future.

However, Northern Ireland is one of the most pessimistic of the UK regions about 'red tape' obstructing commerce.

The views were revealed in the survey by Barclays Corporate, entitled Politics and the Economy 2021.

Over two thirds (67%) of the 51 Ulster companies polled were confident of a move away from public sector reliance.

Sixty-two per cent of business leaders in Northern Ireland were positive about the potential for the region to have improved local infrastructure that will be able to support the needs of business by 2021.

Seventy per cent of respondents here were resigned to the fact they would be dealing with more red tape in a decade, compared to 64% of all UK businesses surveyed.

Adrian Doran, head of Barclays Corporate in Northern Ireland, described the findings as "very positive".

He said: "The fact that the majority of businesses in Northern Ireland are looking to private enterprise for growth is welcome news.

"While central and local government is a key source of income for companies, these results underline the fact that many companies now realise that relying on the public sector alone is not going to be a recipe for success over the coming decade."

Mr Doran described local expectations of improved Northern Ireland infrastructure as "encouraging".

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