Belfast Telegraph

Firms planning to quit Northern Ireland if there is hard Brexit: survey

Ann McGregor, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Ann McGregor, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry

By Lisa Smyth

Almost two-fifths of members of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry would move some or all of their business overseas in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a survey has found.

The latest international trade survey has revealed the possibility of a significant movement of operations by some firms away from the UK.

The research, which surveyed business leaders across every size and sector of the economy here, also highlighted largely negative consequences for investment and jobs.

It found that 31% of members would revise investment plans down, and 30% would revise recruitment plans down.

Meanwhile, only 2% of members believe that an exit from the EU without a deal will lead to increased investment and recruitment.

However, the survey also found that one-quarter of members are planning to boost trade plans in the event of the UK crashing out of the UK without a deal.

The findings of the survey have been revealed as the former economy and finance minister, Simon Hamilton, warned a no-deal Brexit could do "untold damage" to the economy here.

Sign In

Mr Hamilton, a former DUP MLA, made the grim warning in his first interview as the new chief executive of Belfast Chamber.

The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce has released the findings of its survey, which has uncovered details about the level of business preparedness here.

Two in three business have so far carried out an overall risk assessment on the impact of Brexit on their business.

Of those surveyed, 42% of business currently manage currency risk specifically.

According to the survey, the impact of Brexit to date has been mixed for companies here - over the last 12 months, 34% have seen an increase in the volume of EU trade, while 31% have seen a decrease.

Forty percent have seen an increase in the volume of non-EU trade, while 19% have seen a decrease.

Ann McGregor, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "Many, in fact most, of our members have already felt very tangible effects on their businesses from the post referendum fall out.

"Increased costs associated with sterling's depreciation and the need to stockpile or change supply chains have placed significant pressure on cash flow. External customers are losing confidence in UK trade and locally, there is increasing reticence to invest because of huge uncertainty and the loss of, or inability to attract migrant workers."

Belfast Telegraph

Popular