Political unease blights consumer confidence

Danske Bank's Angela McGowan
Danske Bank's Angela McGowan

Consumer confidence in Northern Ireland has taken a hit, with the political situation at Westminster and Stormont highlighted as potential causes.

After recording a strong performance in the first quarter of 2015, Danske Bank’s consumer confidence index dropped between April and June.

The index examines the financial position of local households and their expectations for the year ahead.

The latest report recorded an eight-point fall during the last quarter, bringing it back to June 2014 levels.

Danske Bank’s chief economist Angela McGowan said the election of the Conservative government in May, along with its public commitment to further austerity, may have hit confidence.

She said the political impasse at Stormont, which has left the power-sharing Executive facing a £600 million plus hole in its budget, may also have caused concern.

“Although the economy in Northern Ireland is still expanding it is possible that local confidence levels have been impacted by a number of national and local events,” said Ms McGowan.

“The outcome of the UK election and its ramifications for further austerity over the next five years could be reflected in this recent survey.”