Business leaders call over 10% tax
Published 11/11/2010 | 00:00
Northern Ireland should undercut the Republic's famously low level of corporation tax to attract jobs, business leaders said.
There have been long-standing calls for the tax rate north of the border to be reduced to match the south's 12.5% that helped build the celtic tiger economy.
But members of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry) told a Westminster committee probing the issue that they would support Northern Ireland dropping to a level of 10%.
CBI Northern Ireland chairman Terrence Brannigan told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that it was essential that, at the very least, corporation tax levels be placed on an equal footing across Ireland.
But he added: "I would go in lower."
The business leader suggested that dropping to a level of 10% would give Northern Ireland an advantage that would help it overcome decades of economic depression caused by the Troubles.
He said he expected there might even be some sympathy for that argument in the Republic, given that it would help haul the northern economy out of its slump.
"My personal view is that it is not a lot to ask," he said.
Mr Brannigan said he would prefer to see a lowering of the tax rate introduced quickly to kickstart the task of attracting overseas investment.
But with central government expected to reduce the block grant to the Assembly to offset any tax loss, he accepted that it may be prudent to phase-in the change over four years.