A report has found that business growth, investment and recruitment plans are at risk in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry and business advisers BDO recently published their Quarter 2 Economic Survey. This report on the current business climate found that one in four NI businesses are reconsidering their future. Firms are worried about the future value of sterling. Many have revised plans to grow, invest or recruit because of June’s shock Brexit vote.
Ann McGregor, chief executive of the NI Chamber said its members are concerned about the implications of leaving the EU.
“The lack of information available post-Brexit is a concern for our members, with a significant majority having already revised or expecting to revise their growth plans,” she said.
McGregor explained that around half of NI companies expect to put investment decisions on hold. Brexit has shaken business confidence. The North’s economy was growing during the second quarter of 2016 before the EU referendum result announcement.
Concerns for NI business skills shortage
Business in the North was generally positive prior to the referendum. However, since the end of June, businesses are concerned how withdrawing from the EU will impact day-to-day business operations.
Areas of particular concern were future trading rules, European regional funding and the future immigration status of EU employees. Businesses have already voiced worries that a skills shortage is hampering efforts to grow.
However, Brian Murphy of BDO believes Northern Ireland’s businesses are flexible and able to adapt to future challenges.
“I am confident that businesses in NI will in fact make the most of the positives, positives such as the advantages our exporters and our hospitality sector are benefiting from as a result of the weaker pound,” he said.