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Northern Ireland 'at disadvantage over corporation tax'

A top Bank of England official has heard how Northern Ireland remains at a competitive disadvantage to Dublin given the disparity in the corporation tax rate.

The warning came from the commercial property consultancy firm CBRE which held a briefing event with the managing director of the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) at the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey.

The availability of prime office developments, with no speculative office development in the pipeline, and negative media coverage of recent civil unrest is also damaging Northern Ireland's reputation as an attractive location for international investors and companies, Mr Bailey was told.

CBRE also highlighted the need to promote the designation of Enterprise Zones which will allow companies to receive rate rebates and tax breaks for setting up in these areas and the need to capitalise on the tourism potential in the region, to help market Northern Ireland to overseas firms.

Brian Lavery, managing director of CBRE in Belfast, said that it has never been more important for the Stormont Executive to continue to promote the region as an attractive European base for multi-nationals.

"Additionally, it is equally important that we capitalise on the Bank of England's newly established financial services regulatory system, the PRA, which comes into effect on April 1," he said.

"This will be important for Northern Ireland, particularly in the context of promoting bank funding in the commercial property sector to support activities that attract FDI (foreign direct investment) into our economy."

He added: "This year should see the start of more trading in all sectors of the property market.

"For those with capital available the sector will offer attractive investment opportunities. However, we need to put in place a framework for long-term success".

Mr Bailey said that he was pleased to be given the opportunity to discuss and be briefed on the economy.

"This understanding is very important to the PRA as we pursue our objective of a stable financial system that can support economic activity," he said.

Belfast Telegraph