Northern Ireland

Chamber of Commerce survey suggests business gloom over NI economy

Image caption 49% of companies said there had been a negative impact on their firm's costs

Two years on from Stormont's collapse, 79% of firms who took part in a survey have predicted the lack of an executive will damage the economy this year.

The research was carried out for the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce.

More than half (52%) of the respondents said the political stalemate would also have a negative impact on their trade.

When asked about Brexit, 49% said there had been a negative impact on their firm's costs and 35% reported a negative impact on sales.

A total of 259 businesses took part in the poll and about one in 10 say Brexit has had a positive impact on their performance.

About a third of respondents said they had put their investment plans on hold because of political uncertainty.

Ann McGregor, the chamber's chief executive, said: "Throughout much of 2018, businesses were subjected to a barrage of political noise and drama, so it's no surprise that Brexit, along with the lack of an executive, are having an increasingly negative impact on business growth and investment plans."

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