Hopes of a dramatic cut in corporation tax were yesterday revived as the Conservatives pledged to overhaul the system if they sweep to power.
Shadow chancellor George Osborne revealed he plans to announce proposals for a reduction in the levy in the new year.
The Tory frontbencher held up the success of Ireland's 12.5% rate for making the Republic attractive to investors, despite tough global competition.
But although he said the drop from 30p to 28p for businesses, which comes in to force from April, was still too high, he did not make it clear if he would match the Irish rate in his plans.
A call for a cut in corporation tax here has been a central plank in the Belfast Telegraph's Better Deal for Business campaign.
It comes just two days after the Government published the controversial report by Sir David Varney on taxation in Northern Ireland that ruled out bringing the rate in-line with the south, which business leaders had campaigned for.
Any changes the party pledges, however, would be UK-wide so would not have the same impact on investment that a differential tax rate would have had.
Mr Osborne, who is currently on a visit to China with party leader David Cameron, they would be "low-tax Tories" if voted into government.
"I believe in lower taxes. I think lower taxes are good for people and the economy," he said.
"I would like to be the chancellor that underpromises and overdelivers.
"I want this to be a sustained programme of lower taxation as and when we can afford it, by controlling public spending."
Mr Osborne also criticised the Government for taking "entirely the wrong approach" by putting up tax rates at a time when the UK needed to become more competitive.
As well as business levies, he also vowed to reduce the tax burden on individuals in in every Budget as Conservative chancellor.
Fuller details of the plans will be announced in January but married couples are expected to be a top priority with hints of transferable tax allowances.
Mr Osborne said: "Did we use the past ten years... to produce the most competitive business tax regime in Europe, to make sure our children are the best educated for the future, to sort out five million people on benefit who should be at work, to make sure our regulatory framework was correct?
"The answer is no. I genuinely do not meet anyone around the world who says we really admire what Britain has done on tax and spending and regulation and so on over the past ten years."