Belfast Telegraph

Lower tax will bring investment

By David Elliott

The economy in the Republic is on its way back. That's the view of the man who coined the phrase Celtic Tiger in the 90s, someone who it is wise to listen to.

Kevin Gardiner is chief investment officer of Barclays but was at Morgan Stanley in 1994 when he predicted 10 years of growth for the economy of our nearest neighbour.

If anything, Mr Gardiner's predictions were a little reserved, with the Republic's startling growth carrying on until the spectacular crash which began in 2007.

Back in the 90s, few would have predicted the boom years that were led by Dublin and similarly few would have predicted a positive period for the region now.

Interestingly, Mr Gardiner points out the same factors which he saw in 1994 are still present 20 years later.

These include a flexible labour market, low tax rates and foreign direct investment.

Those factors are very interesting in Northern Ireland's fight for lower corporation tax, especially given the fact a low tax regime has been brushed aside by detractors as not important in attracting overseas investment.

If, after the Scottish Referendum in September, Northern Ireland is given the power to set its own corporation tax then hopefully we'll have another of the positives which Mr Gardiner points out are essential for a few years of growth.

We already have the flexible labour force and the low tax regime would bring the investment.

In the meantime, we will have to make do with a hopeful boost to exports.

Belfast Telegraph

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