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32% of Northern Ireland people expect to be worse off after Brexit

Brexit is due to happen on October 31 (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Brexit is due to happen on October 31 (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Around one-third of people in Northern Ireland expect to be worse off as a result of Brexit, according to a survey.

But the survey by business advisors PwC found consumers here were less likely than those in the rest of the UK to tighten their purse strings as Brexit approaches at the end of the month. 

And Northern Ireland and Scotland were the only regions where the perceived impact of Brexit on personal finances had not deteriorated since April. 

However, PwC said one in three people here (32%) do expect to be worse off financially after Brexit, which is due to take place at the end of the month, compared to a year earlier.

But 60% of people here said the political uncertainty will not make them change their spending habits, while a quarter expect to be better off overall.

The consumer sentiment survey interviewed 2,000 adults across the UK and despite political upheaval, overall sentiment was resilient, PwC said.

While sentiment had declined slightly, people were still more positive about their personal prospects than they had been just after the referendum of June 2016.  And they were much more positive than they had been during the last recession and recovery. 

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Martin Cowie, partner at PwC NI, said: “Consumers in Northern Ireland appear to be displaying a bullishness towards Brexit, with the majority of people saying it will have no impact on their spending habits.  Overall UK consumers are still more positive about their personal prospects than immediately after the EU referendum, and significantly more positive than during the last recession and recovery period.”

“Nevertheless, Brexit aside, more people in Northern Ireland expect to be worse off this year than they were last year.

“With the autumn consumer sentiment level at its lowest ebb since 2014, this could see retailers and leisure operators impacted by shoppers reducing their festive budgets in the critical run-up to Christmas.  “It poses a challenge but, outside London, Northern Ireland has the highest number of people who believe they’ll be better off than this time last year.

“And with the majority reporting they don’t expect to change their shopping habits - by devising innovative approaches to attracting shoppers in the busy festive season, businesses can turn this to their advantage.”

Optimism varied among age groups, with the steepest fall in those aged 25 and under.  However, 55 to 64-year-olds were the most pessimistic overall. 

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