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Cutting Northern Ireland's corporation tax could double the amount of jobs available by 2030, a report claims

Cutting Northern Ireland's corporation tax could double the amount of jobs available by 2030, a report claims

Cutting Northern Ireland's corporation tax could double the amount of jobs available by 2030, a report claims

Reducing Northern Ireland's corporation tax level could double the number of jobs created over the next two decades, a report has said.

The region will not see a repeat of pre-recession new employment levels but unless the levy is lowered it may be even worse, said the study for the Department of Employment and Learning. Demand would be greatest for highly skilled IT professionals.

The Eurozone debt crisis and protracted financial sector problems were blamed for weaker than expected jobs growth than previously assumed.

Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry said: "A lowering of corporation tax has the potential to transform our local economy but not in isolation and we need to ensure that we are ready with policies that support economic drivers including skills."

Without the change only 57,000 extra posts would be created to 2030 - a quarter the rate of employment growth during the pre-recession decade, the study revealed. With the corporation tax incentive for companies to expand the jobs total could double, an extra 58,000 posts by 2030.

The business community and most members of the Northern Ireland Executive favour reducing the tax level to 12.5%. This would allow Northern Ireland to compete with the Republic of Ireland for foreign direct investment but it could take some time for enough local people to be trained in the specialist skills required.

The 78-page report by Oxford Economics said under a lower corporation tax level increased demand would be most pronounced for employment in the software and IT sector, which would double in size by 2030.

Other findings included that there would be a 70% increase in the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals by 2030 and that low skilled will need to improve their qualifications, with only one in eight vacancies by 2030 requiring no qualifications.

The report warned without cuts to the business levy: "A decline in labour demand arising from a potential reduction in selective financial assistance, coupled with the impact of welfare reform which will likely increase labour supply, will make the baseline labour market outlook very challenging."

A decision on devolution of corporation tax powers to Northern Ireland will be made within the next few months.

PA