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Sammy Wilson slams report calling for cut in Northern Ireland business tax

Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has criticised a report by economists proposing a reduction in corporation tax in Northern Ireland, warning that large-scale public spending cuts would be needed to fund a measure benefiting company shareholders.

There were demands for the lowering of corporation tax levels for firms early in the devolved administration at Stormont. But they were rejected by former HM Revenue chief Sir David Varney.

The proposal is under consideration by the Tories, but would be funded through a cut in the Northern Ireland block grant to the Executive from London.

Last month, the case for cutting the tax was made in a report by the newly formed Economic Reform Group (ERG) made up of economists and business people.

But in a written Assembly answer, Mr Wilson branded the study “quite simplistic in its analysis” and said it left “many important questions unanswered”.

Economic Reform Group (ERG) member Michael Smyth hit back at the criticism.

He said the ERG was “perfectly prepared” to spell out how a corporation tax cut could be funded.

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