Northern Ireland firms buck the trend and avoid pre-election panic
Northern Ireland companies are feeling confident about the future and are resisting the pre-election jitters affecting their counterparts in Great Britain, according to business recovery specialists Begbies Traynor.
The number of companies showing critical financial distress fell during the first three months of the year, according to the firm's Red Flag Alert research. That contrasted with the rest of the UK where levels of "critical" distress increased slightly - in fact, the first increase since the second quarter in nearly a year.
Begbies Traynor said firms in Great Britain had been keeping their heads down by delaying investment and freezing recruitment and pay until after next month's General Election.
But the research suggests companies here are not experiencing similar pre-polling panic. Construction, real estate and property were all performing well.
Lawrence O'Hara, manager at Begbies Traynor in Belfast, said: "This performance is in sharp contrast to the national trends where we have seen increases in the number of companies facing 'critical' distress.
"Concerns over the outcome of the most uncertain election in a generation have led to a state of stagnation across all sectors of the economy, as swathes of UK businesses guarded against the worst case scenario by postponing their growth plans until after the results have been announced.
"In Northern Ireland, however, the business community may be more comfortable operating in what others might perceive as a relatively unstable political environment."