Belfast Telegraph

Dithering Cameron has left us hanging

David Elliott

Faced with a difficult decision it's easier to procrastinate. That's what the Prime Minister seems to have done on the issue of devolving corporation tax powers to Northern Ireland, a subject which has had the unusual effect of galvanising business people and politicians here.

Like a dithering beau who can't decided between break-up or marriage, David Cameron is keeping us hanging on, not with the promise of a proposal in the near future but with a pledge that he'll have a think about giving us the diamond ring that is lower corporation tax.

Depending on who you speak to, the chances that he was going to give a thumbs up to the proposals yesterday were slim – mainly due to the political issues which it would have thrown up ahead of the Scottish Referendum.

But there's no reason why Mr Cameron couldn't have given the green light, especially with the huge amount of ammunition he's been supplied with to explain why this is a decision which would be solely applicable to Northern Ireland.

The deferment is a blow to campaigners who have given no ground in their push for an act which is considered a game changer for the Northern Ireland economy.

They've worked out the figures, answered the critics and made sure they presented a watertight argument to the Treasury, but with politics now the main barrier the goal posts have moved slightly.

While it may seem as if the movement has lost traction (perhaps that's the effect of the snow?), the deferment doesn't mean the issue has been shelved for good and at least David Cameron hasn't said no.

Rather than shutting the door on the issue he's made clear that he'll revisit it in 2014, an answer which isn't ideal but is much better than the 'no' he could have given.

Still, it's a shame that Mr Cameron hasn't been brave enough to grant an action which was novel, clever and self financing.

The Northern Ireland economy has suffered enough through the years from disadvantages that weren't created by the hard working business people who make up our number but which still curtailed our daily operations.

The current Achilles heel is merely a geographical one but is so critical to helping get the business world back on its feet that it deserves much more urgent attention from the Prime Minister than he's giving it.

Belfast Telegraph