EU Referendum

Invest Northern Ireland Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton shares his views following the EU Referendum


The outcome of the EU Referendum, with a decision to leave the EU, has caused many to ask questions about Northern Ireland’s future as an investment location. Some too have even gone as far as to say that Corporation Tax is at risk and the role of Invest NI is in question. However now is the time for a clear head, a clear plan and a clear message.

All of the factors which have made Northern Ireland a good place to start, invest and grow a business remain as true today, following the Referendum result, as they were before:

  • Northern Ireland is a great place to do business with a top ten, global, business friendly city.
  • Northern Ireland has some of the most highly-skilled people, amidst a global shortage of talent.
  • Northern Ireland is a cost effective location for investment.
  • Northern Ireland has businesses which lead the world in their field.
  • Northern Ireland businesses have products and services that are in demand in export markets.
  • Northern Ireland remains a prime location to access the UK market – a sizeable and important market for investors.

Having seen the number of new investors grow by 40% over the past five years, we are confident that Northern Ireland will continue to succeed as an attractive location for investment, in particular from our largest target market, the USA. Our highly educated people, and our cost effectiveness, are the two main themes of our sales message, and it is these two factors that have attracted the majority of investors over the past few years. They in turn, serve their home markets in USA, so EU market access is not an issue. This is the message that I will continue to deliver in the USA this week as I meet with potential new investors.

The reduction in Corporation Tax will play an invaluable role in creating a business-friendly environment to support job creation, based on the combination of tax, talent and value.

The reduction in Corporation Tax will play an invaluable role in creating a business-friendly environment to support job creation, based on the combination of tax, talent and value. The commitment to reduce the rate of Corporation Tax forms part of the Fresh Start Agreement, is part of the Programme for Government, and is key to the NI Executive’s plan to realise the goal of rebalancing our economy. It was not dependent on the results of the EU Referendum.

Looking at the future of our exports: as the EU sells more to the UK than we do to them, we are positive that mutually beneficial trading arrangements will ensure continued access to the EU market, whilst also having the freedom to develop new bi-lateral agreements in emerging markets and other geographies.

And as to the question over Invest NI’s role and services? Clearly we have a big job to do, helping businesses in export markets all around the world and increasing our sales and marketing effort to continue to grow investment and support job creation. It is important to remember that the majority of our funding is not drawn from EU sources, so we will continue to utilise every tool available to us to deliver the support businesses need to grow and we will fully explore all potential new opportunities that may emerge following the Referendum result.

Alastair Hamilton
Chief Executive, Invest NI