CBI: No-deal Brexit would stifle next generation’s opportunities

Northern Ireland’s largest businesses have said a no-deal Brexit would stifle the next generation’s opportunities in Northern Ireland.

An open letter was penned by the CBI and signed by companies including Coca-Cola, Bombardier Aerospace, Norbrook Laboratories which produces veterinary drugs and defence firm Thales.

It said a no-deal exit will result in significant damage to export markets, supply chains, consumer spending power and the country’s competitiveness.

Bombardier Aerospace
Bombardier Aerospace is among firms which signed the no-Brexit warning letter (Niall Carson/PA)

The letter said: “Local businesses believe that failure to approve a deal with Europe on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU will have significant repercussions for the local economy.

“Such a scenario will both hinder indigenous and foreign direct investment, it would result in significant job losses and will stifle opportunities for the next generation across Northern Ireland.”

It said the negative economic impact was already starting to affect the private sector’s ability to invest.

Northern Ireland industry also noted “with much regret”, uncertainty around future funding for local infrastructure given the immediate loss of approximately £450 million from the European Regional Development Fund which was once earmarked for significant infrastructure projects.

“The uncertainty linked with Brexit has additionally contributed to significant skill and labour shortages.”

It said peace and prosperity were mutually dependent in Northern Ireland.

“A no-deal Brexit will undoubtedly result in creating regulatory and tariff differences across the island of Ireland and will therefore have direct consequences for border checks and crossings.

“We therefore urge MPs across the UK to consider the damaging impact on Northern Ireland’s economy and political stability in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

“The peace and economic progress that flowed from the Belfast / Good Friday Agreement cannot be overlooked at this critical time in the UK’s history.

“All members of Parliament must consider the burden of responsibility that they now carry for this region’s future.”