Belfast Telegraph

Corporation tax tops agenda as Cameron arrives in Northern Ireland

David Cameron is in Belfast for talks with Northern Ireland's political leaders on the future of the region's economy.

The Prime Minister was greeted by Democratic Unionist First Minister Peter Robinson and Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness at the steps of Stormont Castle ahead of the discussions.

Later he will address members of the devolved Assembly in the chamber of the nearby Parliament Buildings, becoming only the second UK premier to do so.

The meeting with Mr McGuinness and Mr Robinson is set to be dominated by economic issues, in particular corporation tax and their desire to set their own rate.

The ongoing threat posed by dissident republican terrorists opposed to the devolved powersharing arrangements should also factor in discussions.

The DUP and Sinn Fein-led administration believes a reduction in the current UK-wide business tax rate of 26% would give Northern Ireland's flagging economy a kickstart and enable it to compete more with the Republic of Ireland, where the rate is 12.5%.

But it is not a straightforward matter for the Assembly, as a tax cut would have to be accompanied by a proportionate reduction in central government funding to Northern Ireland through the block grant.

Belfast Telegraph

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