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Campaigners cheered as the long struggle nears end

By Margaret Canning

There was jubilation yesterday when campaigners found vindication for their long fight for corporation tax powers to be devolved to the Assembly. Many business people have poured their efforts into the campaign over the past five years, a period in which lobbying well and truly intensified.

But lower corporation tax had been mooted as a means of improving the Northern Ireland economy long before 2009.

This very newspaper has campaigned for lower corporation tax and has been happy to lend its support to the more recent incarnations of the long campaign.

But it isn't a done deal just yet, and it would be unrealistic to count on an economic nirvana come July 2017.

There are still our own budgetary affairs to resolve, and many political hurdles, particularly in the form of the Labour Party's reservations at what it regards as the undue haste with which the bill may be pushed through.

The Shadow Secretary of State Ivan Lewis may galvanise other opponents, such as the Green Party, as well as the other business leaders, such as Lord Kilclooney, who have said that there's more to economic and business success than tax rates.

There are others, including Bro McFerran of Allstate, who have said our politicians may not be up to the task of implementing nuanced and complex tax reform.

But they are sure to feel happy that Northern Ireland may soon have another selling point in the fight to stand on its own two feet.

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