NI ex­pected to be the poor­est per­form­ing UK re­gion in 2019

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY RYAN MCALEER

NORTH­ERN Ire­land will stay at the bot­tom of the UK’S eco­nomic growth ta­ble in 2019, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­port from PWC.

Af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the slow­est growth of all UK re­gions in 2018, the UK Eco­nomic Out­look (UKEO) sug­gests North­ern Ire­land will re­main the poor­est per­form­ing of the 12 UK re­gions next year.

The UKEO re­flects the find­ings of the Demos-pwc Good Growth for Cities 2018 in­dex, which found that for the third con­sec­u­tive year, Belfast dropped down in the league of the UK’S 42 lead­ing cities. Belfast has now fallen from fifth in 2015 to 32nd place.

North­ern Ire­land’s to­tal eco­nomic growth of 0.8% to date in 2018 is be­low even the mod­est pre­dic­tions of just 1% growth in March. Aver­age UK growth was 1.3%. The best per­form­ing re­gion in 2019 is pre­dicted to be the south east of Eng­land, where growth will reach 1.9%, with aver­age UK growth at 1.6%.

North­ern Ire­land is fore­cast to in­crease to 1.3% next year.

PWC North­ern Ire­land chair Paul Ter­ring­ton said: “With lit­tle change at Stor­mont and con­tin­ued un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing the Brexit is­sue, it is up to busi­nesses to en­sure that North­ern Ire­land can meet its eco­nomic po­ten­tial.

“Across North­ern Ire­land, un­em­ploy­ment has fallen to record lev­els, but this has not been re­flected in ei­ther pro­duc­tiv­ity or the cre­ation of new high-value jobs across the breadth of the econ­omy. Fi­nan­cial and busi­ness ser­vices are grow­ing fast but face con­straints on skills avail­abil­ity, and our level of eco­nomic in­ac­tiv­ity re­mains the high­est in the UK.”

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