Belfast Telegraph

One in five firms here see growth

By Margaret Canning

Almost all businesses in Ireland are stagnating due to lack of demand for their products and services, a major survey said today.

But firms north of the border appear to be faring slightly better than their counterparts in the Republic, according to the new InterTrade Ireland business monitor.

The survey, which covered the first four months of the year, found that 85% of businesses in the island of Ireland were simply not growing. However, just over 20% of companies in Northern Ireland said they were expanding, compared to 13% in the Republic.

More Northern Ireland companies also reported an increase in sales.

Across the island two-thirds of firms surveyed said lack of demand for products and services had contributed to a feeling of strain, with problems having a domino effect on cash flow.

Aidan Gough, director of strategy and policy for InterTradeIreland, said: "The fact that after three years still only 15% of businesses are in growth mode shows the protracted nature of the current situation."

Firms who took part in the survey said they thought government could help by reducing taxes and improving access to finance.