Coronavirus: Mid Ulster most at risk of economic hit

By John Campbell
BBC News NI Economics & Business Editor

MoneyImage source, Getty Images

Mid Ulster could take the biggest short-term coronavirus-related economic hit of any Northern Ireland region, new analysis suggests.

The Centre for Progressive Policy (CPP) has applied an Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) scenario to all UK local authorities.

The OBR scenario suggested that economic output in the UK could fall by 35% in the second quarter of this year.

It assumes a three-month lockdown, then three months of gradual reopening.

The OBR estimated the share of output that would be lost in each sector of the economy in the second quarter, for example an 85% loss in hospitality.

The Centre for Progressive Policy has applied this methodology to every local authority district in the UK, taking into account the importance of each sector to each local area.

The worst hit areas across the UK tend to be more dependent on the manufacturing sector, which the OBR estimates will decline by 55%.

That is also the case in Northern Ireland with the biggest falls estimated for Mid Ulster (45%) and Mid and East Antrim (40%).

Bounce back

Areas which are heavily reliant on tourism such as the Causeway Coast and Glens (38%) are also estimated to take a hit above the UK average.

The least affected areas are estimated to be Belfast and Derry City and Strabane with each experiencing a 30% decline in output.

The scenario assumes the economy would bounce-back rapidly in the second half of this year under those conditions.