NI businesses cancelling investment plans due to Brexit

  • The latest AIB Brexit Sentiment Index reveals a dramatic shift in attitudes toward Brexit in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and shows that 40% of NI SMEs are cancelling or postponing investments in the face of Brexit.

    AIB has just released its Brexit Sentiment Index report for Q4 2018 analysing the views of businesses across the country on the UK's impending exit from the EU, and the results are pretty damning. This report showed that a shocking 40% of small to medium enterprises in Northern Ireland were cancelling or postponing investment plans due to Brexit.

    Sentiment regarding the border changed markedly from Q3 to Q4 2018, with only 10% of NI businesses now expecting a hard border (down from 24%). Around 56% of SMEs in Northern Ireland and 52% of those in the Republic of Ireland still have no Brexit plan in place, with 42% of NI businesses currently investigating plans and only 2% having a formal Brexit plan already in place.

    The sentiment among businesses is pretty unanimous across the island, with 62% of SMEs in Northern Ireland and 68% in the Republic of Ireland believing that Brexit will ahve a negative impact on their business in the future. Only 8% of NI businesses reported that their business is currently increasing due to Brexit, and around 40% have said that business is already hurting before Brexit even officially takes place.

    Brian Gillan, Head of Business and Corporate Banking at First Trust Bank commented on the report, saying "For most SMEs on both sides of the border, Brexit is apparently more of a future threat than a current reality – right now with this lack of visibility, and concern about future business impact and the potential for wider economic impact weighing heavily on sentiment."

    Commenting on the lack of preparedness for Brexit, Brian Gillan urged companies to start planning now, saying "56% of SMEs have not yet started. Our message to those companies is that despite the clock ticking down it is not too late and any steps you can take to consider the potential impact on your business and your supply chains would be better than none. Banks and other key advisors would be a good place to start and can help you understand the challenges and opportunities presented by Brexit."

    Source: Brexit Sentiment Report, AIB Press Release

    About the author

    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

Share this story