Belfast drops down economic ranking index

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Belfast has fallen in a ranking of the economic performance of UK cities from fifth down to 30th, accountancy firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) has found.

The PwC report, titled Good Growth for Cities 2017, states that “the lack of an Executive for the better part of this year has not helped.”

The study, in a comparison of the four nations of the UK, found that while Northern Ireland’s economy had been improving since the financial crash of 2008 and 2009 and subsequent recession, it still lagged behind the rest of the UK.

The report states: “England and Scotland have outperformed Wales and, to a lesser extent, Northern Ireland almost throughout the entire period since

2005-07.”

It continues: “Northern Ireland has not seen the same pattern of strong recovery in the Good Growth Index since 2011-13 as seen in the rest of the UK, largely because unemployment remained above 7% in Northern Ireland until 2015. But it has still been on an improving trend in recent years.”

Belfast’s fall in the rankings is down to lower wages and poorer productivity, the report states.

The PwC report also refers to the “particular challenges” facing Londonderry due to Brexit.

“It’s worth noting that Derry’s position on the border with the Republic of Ireland (RoI) is distinctive as a significant number of the city’s working population are Irish residents, commuting daily across the border,” the report states in its section on ‘growth scores in devolved administrations’. “As one of the few City Regions within Europe that will potentially now see an EU/non-EU international frontier cut across it, Derry faces particular challenges from Brexit.”