Our team has summarised the key developments for NI businesses in the news this week.
Review of Invest NI calls for "profound change" within "damaged" economic agency – Dysfunction and division at the leadership level of Invest Northern Ireland is harming its economic performance, an independent review has said. Ex-BBC chairman Sir Michael Lyons spent the best part of year looking deep within the £160 million-a-year arm’s length body with the economist Maureen O’Reilly and veteran business figure Dame Rotha Johnston. What they found was dysfunctional relationships and tension at the highest level of the organisation that has harmed its performance.
- The most significant finding from that research was that Invest NI is “currently having little, if any, bearing on the crucial issue of productivity” in the north.
- The review also found “insufficient focus” on the development of sub regional economies around Northern Ireland, with regional offices under-utilised with staff and decision-making too centralised in Belfast.
- It also identified issues with the agency's "client/company" model whereby enhanced support is offered, often on a repeating basis, to a small group of businesses that meet certain criteria. (Source - The Irish News)
Errigal Group has revealed plans for a £150m job-creating investment to redevelop and extend an Antrim business park which is home to a number of prominent firms - Located next to The Junction Retail and Leisure Park, the redeveloped Enkalon Business Park is set to span more than 1.7m sq ft of warehouse and distribution space. (Source - Insider Media)
Hospitality and retailers will see rates bills come down after LPS revaluation - Retailers and hospitality businesses in the north can expect to see huge cuts in their rates bills from April following a revaluation of non-domestic premises conducted by Land & Property Services (LPS). Following the review, the third in eight years, hotels are generally seeing a decrease of 24 per cent on average across Northern Ireland. But firms in other sectors will see their bills rise significantly, including warehouse and storage property (up by 12 per cent generally but by 20 per cent in Belfast); manufacturing property (up 11 per cent), and offices (up 10 per cent). (Source - The Irish News)
Investment in Northern Ireland's commercial property market increased in 2022, according to new research, despite concerns around the rising cost of debt and economic headwinds - A report from CBRE NI found that a total of £330m was invested across 36 transactions in 2022, which was a jump from £290m and 30 transactions in 2021. It also marked the highest level of investment since 2015. (Source - Insider Media)
Northern Ireland construction workload continue to fall – A challenging economic environment continued to impact activity in Northern Ireland's construction sector at the end of last year, according to new research, with workloads remaining in negative territory. The RICS & Tughans Construction Monitor Q4 2022 found that a net balance of -24 per cent of respondents reported a fall in workloads, compared to -29 per cent in Q3. (Source - Insider Media)
Northern Ireland entered a technical recession in third quarter of 2022, official data shows - The north officially entered recession during the summer, official government data indicates. The latest NI Composite Economic Index showed the economy contracted by 0.3 per cent between and the second and third quarters of 2022. (Source - The Irish News)
Home sales in the north fell for the third month running in November, official government data shows - House sales have fallen steadily since September amid a shortage in available stock and weakening consumer confidence. HMRC’s provisional figures suggest November 2022 was the weakest November for the north’s housing market since 2016. (Source - The Irish News)
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