Belfast Telegraph

Fear factor over Brexit is damaging Northern Ireland economy

 

By John Simpson

Unhappily, job losses in well-established engineering businesses have been announced. Replacing lost jobs has become a logical aspiration but, with so many current uncertainties, will not be easy.

Businesses across the UK are facing inevitable worries about the possible outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

Pleas have been made by business organisations for efforts by the UK Government and negotiators to ease difficulties caused by uncertain conditions which may influence business decisions for at least the next two years.

For Northern Ireland, the local economy is more fragile than much of the rest of the UK.

Unhappily, optimistic ambitions have not been backed by firm, reassuring proposals on how cross-border trade will be facilitated.

Even the continuing uncertainty will have pervasive effects.

The emerging evidence is that businesses are postponing investment decisions, most with the soft pedalled agenda that the Brexit outcome does not hold out quick benefits.

The economic prospects for the months ahead can be summed up as worrying.

In recent months NI has enjoyed a falling rate of unemployment, job numbers have held up, but this record has evolved with a fall in the overall levels of real earnings.

The critical missing factor to rebuild the strength of the local economy is a need for more progress in support for a higher value-added, knowledge-based business investment programme.

An unfinished Brexit, causing uncertainty, is proving damaging.

Certainty and recovery, for the near future, are proving illusory.

Belfast Telegraph

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