Corporation tax cut 'an investment'
A corporation tax cut can help create "a sustainable economic future for our children", the chairman of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Northern Ireland has said.
Mervyn McCall called on all Assembly members and MPs to support the reduction to attract more foreign direct investment, boost local companies and encourage growth.
He said Northern Ireland Secretary Owen Paterson remained supportive, and added that the establishment of a ministerial group to address the issue was a logical step.
"Business needs - and expects - all our politicians to pull together on this," he told IoD members. "I ask all of you to take every opportunity to speak to your MLAs and MPs and make them realise that reducing corporation tax is not a cost, it is an investment.
"At the most, it is in the region of a modest 1.5% of the Executive's budget being invested to create a sustainable economic future for our children."
David Cameron has denied the Government is getting "cold feet" about devolving the power to cut corporation tax to Northern Ireland. The Prime Minister said he knew people were frustrated at how long it was taking to decide on the issue.
A group of ministers from Westminster and Stormont is to investigate how much the reduction might affect the block grant. The transfer of the power to Stormont would mean a corresponding cut in the block grant, the money Northern Ireland gets every year from Westminster.
Northern Ireland Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has already said that even if transfer of powers is given the go-ahead, it is unlikely to happen during this Assembly term.
This has frustrated some in the business community, who have argued that the Republic of Ireland's rate of 12.5%, compared with 26% in the UK, is stifling inward investment in Northern Ireland.
The joint group will feature ministers from Westminster as well as from Stormont, including First Minister Peter Robinson, Deputy First Minister John O'Dowd, Mr Wilson and Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster.