Half of NI firms postponed or cancelled investment plans due to Brexit…

A survey by AIB bank shows that half of NI firms postponed or cancelled investment plans due to Brexit. As a business person myself I know in uncertain times you keep your money in your pocket to see how the future will pan out. You put off taking on new staff, you hold off on opening new premises, you don’t buy new equipment etc. But really caution does not just apply to business people but to any sensible consumer which is why we are going to see a slow down in the economy soon as people spend less with the increased uncertainty over Brexit. Now a savvy business person will use times of chaos to their advantage but I think we are 5 years away from hitting rock bottom in this economic cycle – so a lot of people are keeping calm and bidding their time before scooping in to pick up some bargains. I like the idea of getting one of those nice South Belfast detached homes at a knockdown price but whether NI will be a place you would want to live in 5 to 10 years time is the real question.

In other news British manufacturing output slips to ninth globally behind France. They should be on course to drop out of the top 10 altogether once Airbus and all the car manufacturers feck off to Eastern Europe after Brexit. It is interesting that Italy in is 7th place, an inspiration for NI on what can be achieved without a functioning government 😉

Lastly, an opinion piece in the Guardian outlines the true extent of the debt bubble that keeps consumer spending going:

The British growth model is well and truly broken. If any more evidence for this was needed, it came from figures last month showing that households had become net borrowers for the first time since records began in 1987. They took out almost £80bn in loans last year, the highest amount in 10 years. Only £37bn was deposited in banks. This has echoes of the pre-2008 boom period, and we all know how that ended.

The Office for National Statistics also reported that reliance on short-term unsecured loans, such as credit cards and payday loans, had exceeded £200bn: a record high. Nine out of 10 new car purchases are made using hire purchase or some kind of similar arrangement. Rather than serve as a corrective, the financial crisis and its aftermath has just reaffirmed that we remain addicted to this debt-fuelled route to growth.”

“Spending money you don’t have for things you don’t need to impress people you don’t like” is basically how our entire economic model works.

But don’t worry, the Tories have a plan…