Almost two-thirds in the north expect negative economic impact from Brexit

Almost two-thirds of people in the north believe Brexit will have a negative impact on the economy, according to a new all-island survey
Gareth McKeown

ALMOST two-thirds of people in the north believe Brexit will have a negative impact on the economy, according to a new all-island survey.

The research from business advisory firm, RSM shows that 63 per cent of those surveyed in Northern Ireland are pessimistic about the potential impact of Brexit on the economy, while in the Republic that figure is 65 per cent.

Respondents in the north believe their disposal income could suffer as a result of leaving the European Union, with 43 per cent expecting Brexit to have a strong impact on spending, compared with just 26 per cent in the Republic

The level of concern was largely equal amongst the different age groups, with the exception of older people (73+) with only 30 per cent in the north worried about the Brexit outcome.

In the same age category just one in 10 in the north expects Brexit to have a strong impact on disposable income, compared to 42 per cent of millenials.

The survey, which covers 1,000 people on the island of Ireland also reveals that a hard border could have an adverse impact on both cross-border shopping and tourism.

Almost half of respondents in the north (47 per cent) said they would be less likely to shop in the Republic in the event of a hard border, while in the other direction the assertion was made by 59 per cent of those surveyed.

In terms of tourism a concerning 46 per cent of those in the Republic said Brexit would mean they would be less likely to visit the north.

RSM Ireland chief operating officer, Áine Farrelly believes the results show people in Northern Ireland are feeling the strain of Brexit more than their counterparts in the Republic

"Consumers in Northern Ireland believe that Brexit could have a major impact on income, and this is being felt more by younger generations than older people," she said.

"Over the next 12 months, retailers will need to work harder to encourage consumers to part with their money. In our experience this uncertainty is somewhat mirrored amongst businesses."

RSM managing partner in Belfast, Richard Gardiner added:

“Given both the economic uncertainty of Brexit and the political uncertainty with the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly, it is no surprise that there is anxiety amongst consumers. Interestingly, it is millennials in Northern Ireland that are expressing the greatest concern when it comes to their disposable income, and younger consumers in the Republic that are less likely to visit Northern Ireland, which could apply greater pressure on the retail, leisure and tourism sectors locally."

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