Belfast Telegraph

Executives in new call for tax cut

Another group of Northern Ireland business leaders has waded into the row over the proposed lowering of the corporation tax rate.

The Northern Ireland Economic Reform Group (NIERG) has refuted claims that the Republic of Ireland's low corporation tax regime "yielded very few real net jobs" and that Northern Ireland's adoption of the 12.5% rate would add nothing to the economy here.

The statement came after tax commentator Richard Murphy, who runs the website Tax Research UK, told the Belfast Telegraph that lowering the rate would simply be "a clever marketing tool" and that such a move would turn Northern Ireland into a "tax haven".

The UK rate is currently 28%. The NIERG said that the results of the policy pursued by the Republic of Ireland speak for themselves.

"Foreign direct investment has generated more jobs per head of population in the Republic than in any other country," the group said in a statement.

"At a time when global foreign direct investment flows were down 30%, the decline in the Republic was just 4%.

"There are nearly 150,000 jobs currently in the Republic that come from foreign direct investment.

"The evidence from the Republic of Ireland is irrefutable that the ability to adopt a low corporation tax rate would put a powerful new economic tool at Northern Ireland's disposal.

"It is vital that we equip ourselves with a proven means to boost economic growth."

The NIERG produced a report earlier this year which said lowering the tax rate could create up to 90,000 jobs over a 20-year period.