| 14.7°C Belfast

George still won't give the big Christmas gift

December 5 was touted as the day when all would be revealed in the great race to have Northern Ireland's corporation tax devolved.

As it turned out it was just another Autumn Statement from the Chancellor with a few titbits to keep us busy on the abacus.

We did get news on corporation tax but it was another 1% reduction in the UK-wide rate, one that wasn't unexpected and one which again brings into focus the fact that without gaining any devolution of tax-setting powers the gap between our headline rate and that in the Republic has narrowed once again.

The Budget across the border unveiled an unsurprising steely determination to hold on to a 12.5% corporation tax rate there and even a tax holiday for start-up companies.

Treasury minister David Gauke has hinted that a decision from David Cameron is due soon and while that may raise hopes, you can't help thinking the excuse that the Autumn Statement isn't the right time to be discussing such things is a little weak.

Surely it's exactly the right time to pull a white rabbit out of the hat or, more accurately, a white knight out of the Treasury?

But with that point swept under the carpet it was on to more nods to various struggling sectors, most pertinently the construction industry which should eventually see the benefit of £100m worth of infrastructure spending which has been pointed the Executive's way by Mr Osborne.

Weekly Business Digest

Margaret Canning’s selection of the must-read business stories straight to your inbox every Tuesday morning

This field is required

The sector was obviously grateful for the announcement but is in such dire need of a lifeline that it needs the money to be rushed through as soon as possible.

John Armstrong from the Construction Employer's Federation summed it up nicely: "The Executive should take this opportunity to publish a detailed plan to deliver a steady stream of projects to the market over the next two years."

Another sector in much better health is our aerospace industry and off course we weren't expecting news on that but again it's worth keeping an eye on our nearest competitor's budget.

The Dublin government has announced three incentives aimed at growing its aviation sector including one aimed at figuring out if it should use incentives to attract inward investment into the sector.

They've already got the lower rate of corporation tax in their armour so we need to make sure we're one step ahead of the game and keep our buoyant aerospace industry just that.

Elsewhere our own budget revealed some good news for motorists and when it comes to personal tax, we can all be glad that that burden has been eased slightly, no matter how little.


Privacy