Brexit uncertainty driving fall in business confidence, finds ACCA
Over half of respondents in Northern Ireland (64%) said they were feeling less confident than a year ago with 29% of businesses saying they were ‘much less confident.’ Business uncertainty caused by the Brexit process was the biggest driver cited by over two thirds of respondents, followed by concerns over free movement of talent and impact on economic growth.
Only 10% of businesses reported improving confidence compared, with 26% stating there had been no impact. More than half (67%) in Northern Ireland saw no opportunities for their organisation from Brexit.
Liz Hughes, Head of ACCA Ireland commented, ‘The loss of confidence across the UK & Ireland is a cause for concern. Professional accountants are embedded in every sector and industry and their views represent an important snapshot from the front-line of the wider economic outlook.
‘You can clearly see that uncertainty is the main driver and is no friend of business. Seventeen months on from the referendum the UK Government’s preferred direction of travel on Brexit remains unclear. The total cost in terms of investments delayed and decisions not taken is much harder to measure, but what we do know is that this uncertainty is affecting business decisions now not only in the UK but in Ireland also.
‘Local politicians where possible must work to offer clarity and assurance. with clear plans in place for protecting current strengths in the economy.
‘ACCA have long called for certainty over a transitional period for the UK post-2019 but as each month passes the value of any such period diminishes as businesses begin to put contingency plans into action.’