Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein to debate tax motion

Grassroots Sinn Fein members have tabled a motion rejecting a reduction in corporation tax at this weekend's ard fheis.

The republican party's leadership has yet to outline which rate it favours.

It struck a deal as part of the Stormont House negotiations to devolve from London to Belfast powers to set the levy.

A motion for debate at the weekend's annual gathering of Sinn Fein members said: " This ard fheis, while supporting the principle of devolution of the power to set corporation tax rates to the Six County Assembly, recognises that the role of a democratic socialist party should be to argue for more effective implementation of current rates of corporation tax, north and south, and rejects a reduction in corporation tax which would increase the profits of global corporations."

The proposal was made by the Clancy/O'Callaghan Cumann in Limerick.

Sinn Fein's coalition partners at Stormont, the DUP, favour reducing the rate of corporation tax on business profits to 12.5% in line with the Republic of Ireland to compete for foreign direct investment. At present the rate is 21%.

Proponents from the business community argue it will create many more jobs and boost the private sector but a significant part of the block grant from Westminster which funds public spending could be removed in tandem with the falling tax take.

European rules mean that Stormont would have to compensate the Treasury for any tax reduction.

This would require them to hand back a portion of its annual budget.

The Republic's low rate has been credited with attracting top US companies like Amazon and Google.

The Executive parties believe the investment is vital to revitalise the economy. The UK Government has agreed to pass the legislation in April before the election.

Sinn Fein's ard fheis is being held in Derry's Millennium Forum and begins on Friday.

Topics to be debated include delivering a fair economic recovery and getting Ireland back to work. Basque, Palestinian and South African guest speakers will attend.

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