Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland expected to be the poorest performing UK region in 2019

Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

Northern Ireland will stay at the bottom of the UK’s economic growth table in 2019, according to the latest report from PwC.

After experiencing the slowest growth of all UK regions in 2018, the UK Economic Outlook (UKEO) suggests Northern Ireland will remain the poorest performing of the 12 UK regions next year.

The UKEO reflects the findings of the Demos-PwC Good Growth for Cities 2018 index, which found that for the third consecutive year, Belfast dropped down in the league of the UK’s 42 leading cities. Belfast has now fallen from fifth in 2015 to 32nd place.

Northern Ireland’s total economic growth of 0.8% to date in 2018 is below even the modest predictions of just 1% growth in March. Average UK growth was 1.3%. The best performing region in 2019 is predicted to be the south east of England, where growth will reach 1.9%, with average UK growth at 1.6%.

Northern Ireland is forecast to increase to 1.3% next year.

PwC Northern Ireland chair Paul Terrington said: “With little change at Stormont and continued uncertainty surrounding the Brexit issue, it is up to businesses to ensure that Northern Ireland can meet its economic potential.

“Across Northern Ireland, unemployment has fallen to record levels, but this has not been reflected in either productivity or the creation of new high-value jobs across the breadth of the economy. Financial and business services are growing fast but face constraints on skills availability, and our level of economic inactivity remains the highest in the UK.”

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