Belfast Telegraph

MPs to look at tax on Northern Ireland businesses

Tax levels on Northern Ireland businesses are to be examined by a committee of MPs, it has been revealed.

The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee will consider whether the level of corporation levies should be made the same as in the Irish Republic or what alternative measures could make the economy competitive.

A 12.5% rate in the Republic prompted the successful Celtic Tiger years, making it a host location to multinational companies in high value sectors like pharmaceuticals.

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that he plans to reduce the main rate of corporation tax across the UK from 28% to 24% over the next four years. He will review measures to rebalance the Northern Ireland economy and make it less dependant on the public sector.

This autumn the committee will consider the effects a reduction in corporation tax will have on Northern Ireland as well as what alternative measures could be introduced.

Political parties in Northern Ireland want corporation tax reduced in line with the Republic.

However, Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has warned any intervention which seeks to reopen the issue of Northern Ireland's block grant may have damaging consequences.

Glyn Roberts, Northern Ireland Retail Trade Association chief executive, welcomed the inquiry.

He said: "There is no doubt that more foreign direct investment for Northern Ireland as a result of a lower corporation tax rate would be a win-win, both creating new jobs and the knock-on effect this would have for our indigenous small businesses.

"More large companies coming to Northern Ireland and therefore more people spending would be clearly beneficial for local retailers and suppliers."