Belfast Telegraph

Tax cut is complete waste of time, claims academic

By Clare Weir

A Queen's University academic has dubbed cutting corporation tax a "complete and utter waste of time".

Professor Michael Moore, director of research at the University Management School, was a panelist at a debate which took place on the eve of the publication of a Treasury report on rebalancing Northern Ireland's economy.

The report looked at how corporation tax could be reduced in Northern Ireland and considered a phased approach over five years.

Wednesday night's panel also included David Dobbin, group chief executive of United Dairy Farmers, Peter Bunting of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Eamonn Donaghy, KPMG tax partner and a member of the pro-cut Northern Ireland Economic Reform Group, and Stephen Kingon CBE, Invest NI chairman.

Panelists debated whether the pain of cutting corporation tax, given the impact on Northern Ireland's block grant from the UK Government, would be worth the gain brought by foreign investment.

Eamonn Donaghy said people were getting "het up" on the cost of lowering the rate, which has been put at a reduction of £300m every year off the block grant.

"It would be disappointing if it didn't result in the creation of jobs and increased investment," he said.

Dr Michael Moore retorted: "Cutting corporation tax is a complete and utter waste of time in terms of attracting foreign direct investment and job creation."

But Mr Donaghy said: "There is a fixation on cost. I have to say with the lack of inward investment currently, what is the cost of not doing this?"