This Annual Report comes after a further year of global economic uncertainty.
In recent months the recovery in the developed economies seems to have faded, and this has intensified concerns over sovereign debt, particularly in the eurozone. Business and consumer confidence has been adversely affected.
Within the Northern Ireland economy, the labour market continued to face pressure with rising levels of claimant unemployment and there has been a significant change to the Executive’s policy levers to support businesses, with reductions in regional aid ceilings from 1 January 2011.
Throughout the year the EAG has met with NI Executive Ministers, economic stakeholders, and provided responses to a number of consultations including the NI Executive’s draft Budget, Economic Strategy Framework and HM Treasury’s consultation on Rebalancing the NI Economy. However, the most important policy issue of the year has been posed by the HM Treasury paper on Rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy. The Group therefore commissioned in-depth analysis and produced a detailed report on the potential impacts of a reduced rate of corporation tax on the Northern Ireland economy, which led to an invitation to give evidence to the Department of Finance and Personnel Committee.
This report presents an insight into the Northern Ireland economy from the Group’s perspective, provides a synopsis of the work programme that the EAG has fulfilled over the previous year and an indication of the work
programme that the Group intends pursuing in the current year and beyond.
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