Corporation tax cut could create '50,000 jobs in province'
Lower corporation tax in Northern Ireland could help maximise the tourism and hospitality benefits that 2012 could bring, claims a local business group.
Politicians are due to liaise with Treasury ministers and officials in London for the second Ministerial Working Group meeting to discuss the devolution of tax-setting powers to the assembly.
Eamonn Donaghy, spokesperson for Grow NI - an umbrella group of Northern Ireland business established last year to support the devolution of corporation tax - said that a reduction in corporation tax from 24% to the Republic's rate of 12.5% could see the creation of more than 50,000 jobs between now and 2030 and an overall increase in export activity and productivity.
He added that while 2012 is a year when Northern Ireland is showcasing big names in tourism, film and sport, the structural problems facing the economy show no sign of abating.
"If we are to begin to attract large scale investment which can stimulate growth in the economy, then immediate steps to introduce the devolution of corporation tax are crucial," he said.
"This meeting of the Ministerial Working Group is another key step along the path to the devolution of the power to vary corporation tax to the NI Assembly and its subsequent reduction to a rate at least as low as in the Republic of Ireland.
"Across the UK, Ireland and Europe it is clear that our economic recovery will be led by growth from the private sector.
"Political leaders, economists and business people all agree that increased employment in enterprise, which is export led, will generate wealth creation across all sectors of society. The idea that the public spending tap will continue running freely is simply head-in-the-sand economics. The resources are no longer there.
"Our private sector can and is competing with the best on the island but the continued differential in corporation tax rate impedes local companies from thinking big and big companies from thinking local."
The corporation tax rate here, a rate of 12.5% is being sought by Grow NI