Belfast Telegraph

Scotland 'not an excuse' for corporation tax cut refusal

By David Elliott

The UK government should not use Scotland as an excuse to impede the power to set corporation tax to Stormont, according to the Chairman of the Institute of Directors in Northern Ireland.

Mervyn McCall was speaking at the IoD NI Annual Lunch sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport yesterday in Belfast, where he said allowing Northern Ireland to cut corporation tax to 12.5% wouldn't lead to the same demands from by Scottish businesses.

"Scotland has not asked for the power to devolve corporation tax. Indeed, several Scottish business organisations have rejected it as a proposal," he said.

"The cost of lowering corporation tax to 12.5% would be over £2bn per annum in Scotland. It would have little or no impact on their economy.

"In Northern Ireland we have won the economic argument and all parties agree that lowering corporation tax will create jobs, jobs and more jobs."

And he called on the Secretary of State to take action.

"My message to our new Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, the Treasury and the Prime Minister is clear. If you are concerned about Scotland, show them that they don't require independence to set their own agenda," Mr McCall said.

"It can be accomplished from within the union and I want the Prime Minister to be able to point to Northern Ireland as an example of this.

"I fear delaying a decision could prevent our economy from rebalancing.

"Northern Ireland should be given the opportunity to help itself through the lowering of corporation tax rates," the chairman added.