Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland businesses ‘paint an alarming picture’ of economy

By Claire Weir

Businesses in Northern Ireland have “painted an alarming picture” of the economy here, according to an expert in the industry.

Roger Pollen of the Federation of Small Businesses spoke out after accountancy company Goldblatt McGuigan polled 280 firms here, exclusively for the Belfast Telegraph.

The survey found that 74% of companies said they feared public sector cuts would have a negative impact on business and just over 70% said they lacked confidence in the prospects for business over the next six months. And 65% said they did not expect Northern Ireland to emerge from the economic gloom until 2012.

“There can be no doubt that the findings of this survey are very stark and reveal the myriad of pressures and strains being felt by the business community at present,” said Mr Pollen.

“Research published by the FSB in October detailed similar findings with 37% of those surveyed locally saying they had little or no business confidence. These studies clearly illustrate the need for swift, robust action to be taken to ensure this situation is rectified sooner rather than later,” he said.

“In addition, at national level the FSB is calling for the establishment of a ‘Programme for Growth’ to help support the employment potential of existing firms as the axe falls. Coupled with the spending cuts is the impending 2.5% rise in VAT in the new year, a cost which small firms will not be able to absorb.”

Belfast Telegraph