Belfast Telegraph

Warning over Northern Ireland corporation tax cut

Cutting corporation tax in Northern Ireland could encourage pressure for copycat measures for the rest of the UK, a committee has heard.

Scotland, Wales and deprived parts of England could pursue a similar strategy if Westminster was to grant the concession, Merseyside MP Joe Benton said.

Business experts supported calls for a fall in tax levels to encourage investment during a session of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee at Parliament.

Mr Benton said there could be protests from other parts of the UK if an exception was made for Northern Ireland.

"They would be saying you have made this concession to Northern Ireland, where do we sit?

"That creates a terrible political problem and I am sure you appreciate all the financial consequences of that would have to come into the reckoning and be part of that discussion."

The committee is investigating whether the rate should be cut to match that rate in the Republic of Ireland.

The main level of corporation tax in the UK is 28% for 2010, while that south of the border is only 12%.

Business leaders and politicians have argued that this puts Northern Ireland at an unfair disadvantage.

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