Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland economic growth 'will lessen' until 2020

By Margaret Canning

Brexit uncertainty, rising prices and tight public spending will hold back economic growth and lead to job losses in Northern Ireland, according to a forecast today.

And the EY Economic Eye Summer Forecast downgraded its prediction of growth for 2020 from 1.7% to 1.4%, such is the lack of clarity facing the economy.

The business advisory firm predicted growth of 1.1% this year, falling to 0.8% the year after but with a recovery towards the start of the new decade.

But in the meantime, increasing prices were likely to erode any increase in wages - which EY said spelled difficulty for our consumer-led economy.

However, economic growth on the island of Ireland would be steady at 2.4% between now and 2020.

EY Ireland's Michael Hall said six months after its last forecast there was still no clarity on Brexit and an "absence of information on trade deals, customs and border plans, and migration policy".

But he said the economy here had performed well, "with a weaker currency boosting exporters and fears over a confidence crisis proving ill-founded".

"However, the real Brexit process is just beginning and is likely to be bumpy, and although it makes economic sense to arrive at a sensible trade arrangement, that cannot be assumed," he said.

The Economic Eye predicts strong jobs growth of 91,000 for the Republic by 2020. In contrast, there would be a decline in jobs of 3,500 for the province.

Mr Hall added: "There is, however, an opportunity for the manufacturing sector post-Brexit, if Northern Ireland can position itself as a bridge for the Republic of Ireland's UK market access across the border."

Belfast Telegraph