DUP Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has underlined his scepticism over calls for a corporation tax cut in Northern Ireland.
The demand for a lowering of the tax on company profits enjoys cross-party backing at the Assembly.
It also featured prominently in the General Election manifestos of the province's main parties — including the DUP.
Mr Wilson spoke yesterday in an Assembly debate after MLAs from different parties had spoken in favour of cutting the tax.
“I do not want to pour cold water on the debate, but there is a need to bring some balance to it. I am not so sure that we have heard absolute balance in the arguments that have been put forward,” the minister said.
Mr Wilson told MLAs that corporation tax raised between £340m and £520m in the province, depending on the method of calculation used.
He said the costs of reducing it would be “substantial” and under European law would “have to be borne by the Executive”.
The minister further argued that unless a corporation tax reduction was made very “conditional”, there was no guarantee “that the money will not go, at least initially, to the shareholders”.