Belfast Telegraph

Scottish vote key to Cameron's decision

By Liam Clarke

The Prime Minister has said he will give his decision on the devolution of corporation tax shortly after the Scottish independence referendum which is held on September 18.

The two are linked because the Westminster parties have promised Scotland extensive powers over tax if it opts to remain in the UK.

Scotland is likely to get power over income, but not Corporation Tax. Its corporate sector is so large that the cost of reduction would be prohibitive.

Mr Cameron's announcement on Northern Ireland is expected in October.

If it the decision is positive legislation must then be rushed through by March 30 2015 when parliament dissolves. The General election is on May 7.

After that it would take at least two years before there would be an actual cut in corporation tax. In the meantime the Executive here would have steer through legislation to accept the powers, to agree the size if the cut and to find a way to pay for it.

The cut in tax would be introduced at the beginning of a financial year.

It could be in April 2016, shortly before the next Assembly election on May 5 that year. It could also take until April 2017 to implement.

Mr Hamilton said: "Invest Northern Ireland would have to start selling a different proposition during the lead in.

"It would be saying 'this is not the Northern Ireland you were looking at, this is a different Northern Ireland'."

He added: "We would also have to work with the universities and colleges to make sure that the skills are there for the type of companies that will invest and the type of people that they need."

Belfast Telegraph

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