Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 22 July 2014

Cameron urged to grant tax powers

The CBI has called on David Cameron to grant Northern Ireland ministers powers to lower corporation tax

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has urged the Prime Minister to grant Northern Ireland ministers powers to lower corporation tax in an open letter.

The business organisation warned David Cameron he risked missing an opportunity for transformational change.

Some lobbyists want to reduce the tax rate to 12.5% in line with that in the Republic of Ireland to help attract businesses. But there are concerns other parts of the UK including Scotland could demand concessions and the takings lost would have to be made up by the Executive.

The Prime Minister has been considering the issue for some time.

Ian Coulter, CBI Northern Ireland chairman, said: "There is no doubt that without urgent action on the devolution of corporation tax powers the opportunity for transformational change will also be lost."

He pointed to new foreign direct investment jobs created south of the border, linking over 35,000 posts created in the Republic to global companies during the last 30 months.

"Northern Ireland boasts many innovative businesses that are growing and flourishing, despite the challenges, and a skilled and dedicated workforce. But many more businesses and individuals are in dire straits and a generation of talented young people is being lost," he told the Prime Minister.

He added: "We urge you to now put these words into action for Northern Ireland and give it the economic lever most likely to rebalance the Northern Ireland economy. It is your decision: just say yes."

Although the Executive would probably lose funding equivalent to the amount lost in corporation tax to the Treasury, businessmen hope the extra investment and incentive for new jobs would more than compensate for that.

There is also the possibility companies could simply relocate from higher tax regions like the south east of England if a lower rate was available in Northern Ireland.

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