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Northern Ireland growth nearly four times slower than London

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Fruit and veg stalls in St George's Market in Belfast. Photo: Eye Ubiquitous/UIG via Getty Images

Economic growth in Northern Ireland in the first quarter of the year was almost four times slower than it was in London, according to new estimates.

Data released by the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence shows that, during the first three months of the year, London’s economy grew by 2.7%.

In Northern Ireland, the UK’s slowest-growing region, economic growth was just 0.7%.

The data also shows a continued disparity between London and the other regions of the UK, with economic growth in the North East and North West standing at just 0.8% and 1%, respectively.

Data from the Office for National Statistics, which collaborates with the centre, shows that the UK’s economy grew by 1.5% overall in the first quarter.

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Three other regions were also below the UK average: Yorkshire and the Humber (1.4%), the West Midlands (1.2%), and Wales (1.1%).

Meanwhile, five other regions had growth above the UK average, but below that of London: the South West (2.1%), Scotland (2%) the South East (2%), the East of England (1.9%) and the East Midlands (1.6%).

Northern Ireland’s economy has long needed a boost from Westminster, with most of the region’s money coming from money known as the subvention.

Though Northern Ireland was once a net contributor to HM Treasury, it’s now thought of as a “big deficit” economy — it has one of the highest levels of public spending in the entire UK, and collects a comparatively low level of taxation revenue.