Report claims Northern Ireland 'has lost out on 1,000 FDI jobs' since EU referendum

US-based insurance company Aflac confirmed earlier this month that it plans to create 150 jobs in a technology innovation centre in Belfast. But a new report claims the north has lost out on more than 1,000 FDI jobs since the outcome of the EU referendum
Gary McDonald Business Editor

NORTHERN Ireland has missed out on landing more than 1,000 high-paying overseas jobs in the three years since the EU referendum, a new report claims.

Research for the Department for the Economy has uncovered the negative Brexit affect on investment activity by firms, including inward foreign direct investment.

Using data on new ‘greenfield' FDI activity in the north, it says the uncertainty following from the outcome of the June 2016 vote has led to a lower number of FDI-related new jobs compared to a situation in which the Brexit ballet had not taken place.

And it estimates that in the absence of this uncertainty, an additional 1,036 FDI-related new jobs could have been created over two years after the referendum.

The number of actual FDI-related new jobs over two years since the referendum is estimated to be lower by 31 per cent than a situation without the

Brexit uncertainty.

However, it comes at the end of a month in which a number of jobs were creating in Northern Ireland by overseas investors, including Texas-based ESO, which is creating 120 posts in Belfast, and US insurance giant Aflac, which will create 150 posts at a new technology centre in the city.

The results are consistent with existing evidence of a reduced FDI activity in the UK due to uncertainty related to its future trade relationship with the EU.

And it comes as an economic think tank said that Prime Minister Boris Johnston's newly-brokered agreement would deliver a £70 billion blow to the UK.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) study says that, compared with staying in the EU, the UK economy would be 3.5 per cent lower in 10 years' time under the current deal.

The researchers worked on the basis that the UK will leave the bloc with a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU after a transition lasting up to 2021 while negotiating new deals with other nations.

"We estimate that, as a result of higher barriers to goods and services, trade and restrictions to migration, the economy would be 3.5 per cent smaller under Johnson's deal (FTA scenario) compared to continued membership in the EU customs union and single market," the authors wrote.

The research suggested a no-deal Brexit would cause an even greater loss to the economy, with a 5.6 per cent blow to the economy.

The NIESR said GDP is already estimated to be 2.5 per cent smaller than it would have been without the UK having voted to Leave in the 2016 referendum.

A Treasury spokesman said: "A Brexit deal will give people and businesses the certainty they need to invest, which will support our economy.

"We are aiming to negotiate a comprehensive free trade agreement with the European Union, which is more ambitious than the standard free trade deal that NIESR has based its findings on."

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