Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 28th June 2019
Businesses operating in Northern Ireland are becoming increasingly concerned about financial distress and at a rapid rate.
According to a new set of figures, 44 per cent of businesses in the country think financial distress is becoming more of a problem for enterprises in the local economy, which is a figure up dramatically from 28 per cent in 2018 and from just 16 per cent in 2017.
Only 9 per cent of the business men and women polled on these issues recently said that they consider their prospects for the coming year to be ‘good’, while 51 per cent said they see their short-term prospects as being either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.
Key concerns cited by businesses in Northern Ireland included the uncertainty around Brexit, cuts to government spending and increased operating costs.
Last year, the same study by the Chartered Accountants Ulster Society found 46 per cent of people felt that the local economy was growing ‘strongly or moderately’ but only 11 per cent took the same view 12 months later.
A large majority (84 per cent) of respondents to the survey this year said that Brexit has negatively impacted Northern Ireland’s economy and 59 per cent said it had been bad news as far as their own investment plans were concerned.
Only 10 per cent of people said that they’d support the UK leaving the EU without a deal on the terms of exit.
Meanwhile, 48 per cent said they’d like to see Britain revoke Article 50 and stay in the EU, and 29 per cent said that they would support another referendum on the question of the UK’s EU membership.
Researchers also found widespread unhappiness among business bosses with the lack of a Northern Irish Executive at the Stormont Assembly, which a large majority feel will have a negative effect on the local economy in the coming year.
Richard Gillan, chairman of the Chartered Accountants Ulster Society, which represents almost 5,000 accountants across Northern Ireland, said: “It is vital that the Northern Ireland Executive is restored as soon as possible.”
“It is now two and a half years since its collapse and the impasse is leading to stagnation, it is affecting business investment and it is affecting the provision of public services,” he said.