15/01/2016

Poor Economic Growth Forecast For NI

The economy spokesperson for the Ulster Unionist Party, has said the latest in a series of poor economic growth forecasts for Northern Ireland must lead to action from the Enterprise Minister and the Executive.

NI's economy is expected to expand by 1.8% this year compared to 2.3%, according to the latest report by Danske Bank.

Mr Adrian Cochrane-Watson said: "The Danske Bank report downgrading its forecast of economic growth in Northern Ireland in 2016 from 2.3% to 1.8% is the latest in a series of reports which suggest that Northern Ireland's economy is stagnating, compared to both the rest of the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.

"This comes on the back of similar forecasts from the likes of PwC, Ernst and Young, as well as the British Chamber of Commerce, all suggesting the same thing.

"In the rest of the United Kingdom economic growth is forecast to be around 2.6%, whilst a figure of around 1.7% is often quoted for Northern Ireland. We know, from the Office of National Statistics, that out of 12 UK regions, Northern Ireland contributes least to UK manufacturing turnover at 3.4% in 2012.

"These figures must be a cause of concern. With the Assembly back in session, I hope the Enterprise Minister Mr Bell will return to the despatch box without the arrogant and complacent attitude he demonstrated last year."

Danske Bank's Chief Economist Angela McGowan said: "The Northern Ireland economy should continue with its recovery in 2016, however the pace of growth will not be overly exciting.

"Although the annual growth rate is expected to be around 1.8 per cent, there are, as always, a small number of sectors that will grow at an 'above average' rate and of course the public sector will continue to shrink."

(CD/JP)

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