North’s economy grows at much slower pace than rest of UK

Figures come amid renewed fears over no-deal Brexit

Growth slowed in Northern Ireland to an estimated 0.7 per cent compared to a UK average of 1.5 per cent. Photograph: iStock

Growth slowed in Northern Ireland to an estimated 0.7 per cent compared to a UK average of 1.5 per cent. Photograph: iStock

 

The North’s economy has been growing at a much slower pace this year compared to any other region in the UK, the latest figures suggest. This comes as industry leaders in the North issue fresh warnings about the impact of a no-deal Brexit .

Growth slowed in Northern Ireland to an estimated 0.7 per cent compared to a UK average of 1.5 per cent over the 12 months to the first quarter of 2019, according to the London based Economic Statistic Centre of Excellence (ESCoE).

Stuart McIntyre, senior lecture in the Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde and a researcher at ESCoE, said the analysis shows that “growth in the North East of England and Northern Ireland is still estimated to lag well behind the UK as a whole with London, the South West and Scotland having the highest growth rates.”

Dr McIntyre added: “We can see that our new estimates are notably higher for South East, East of England and South West of England. This suggests that these regions were growing more quickly in 2019 quarter one”.

But he said overall “there is little evidence (so far)” of a sustained pickup in growth in the UK economy against the backdrop of “Brexit-related uncertainty”.

Compares

The North’s performance compares to growth of 2.7 per cent in London, Scotland’s 2 per cent and 1.1 per cent in Wales over the 12 months.

Meanwhile, business leaders in the North reacted to the UK prime minister’s “new Brexit deal” proposals on Tuesday.

Aodhán Connolly, director of the British Retail Consortium, said Theresa May’s new deal must deliver “the protections and frictionless trade promised within the Withdrawal Agreement”.

“Our economy needs access to both the UK and EU markets to be successful. A no deal Brexit in Northern Ireland will mean a fundamental disintegration of our supply chains, delays, checks and administrative burdens.

“This means costs that make our industries less competitive and will squeeze hard-pressed NI families that already have half of the discretionary income of [households in Britain].”