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Letters: Corporation tax move will be financial disaster

Last Tuesday's Belfast Telegraph contained the scariest story I have seen for a long time.

If readers were warned to expect the early introduction of water rates, there would be a public outcry. In fact, it was worse: John Simpson told us that the devolution of corporation tax powers is coming, "so get ready for it".

What does this actually mean for the hard-pressed economy? In order to reduce the tax-burden on company profits, an equivalent amount must, under EU rules, be deducted from Northern Ireland's annual budget.

In a debate on the Nolan Show a couple of years ago John Simpson conceded that it could take 15 years for the policy to "break even" by bringing in more money than is lost from Stormont's budget.

Meanwhile, the annual (yes, annual) loss to the local budget has been calculated at anywhere between £350m and £600m.

Where will the lost money go? Into the pockets of company directors. Where will it come from? From health and schools budget, from policing, from the environment, from welfare and benefits.

In effect, this is water rates in reverse: instead of imposing water rates on us, Stormont will be allowed to slash an equivalent amount from public finances.

It will require the introduction of water rates just to plug the gap and save the health service.

It is time for politicians and public alike to break the conspiracy of silence and speak out about this looming financial disaster.



Gnawed at by rank hypocrisy over Suarez

Viewed rationally, Luis Suarez did no harm to anyone but himself. In a moment he ended his World Cup and did great damage to his future career.

No one else was affected: not the pundits, so vociferous in their condemnation (Ian Wright an honourable exception); not the Italian team who were already down to 10 men; and not the bitten Chiellini, who hadn’t been knocked out by a headbutt or had his leg broken by a vicious tackle.

The victim of the ‘outrage’ was Suarez himself.

Suarez is a supremely gifted footballer. Off the field he is recognised as a genuine good guy, as committed to life in Liverpool as he is to their team on the pitch.

And far more sickening than Suarez’s bite is the hypocrisy.

We’re talking about a ‘sport’ where shirt-pulling, diving, ‘professional’ fouls and career-threatening tackles now often go unpunished and often unnoticed.

I’m not a Christian, but the command ‘Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone’ seems apposite.


By email

Is Hannibal Lecter from Uruguay?

Is it true Luis Suarez would have some fava beans and a nice Chianti after each game... I mean meal?


By email

McAleese reply lacks tolerance

I’m sure Mary McAleese is well able to respond to Ellen O'Hanlon's letter (Write Back, June 25).

However, I was struck by the intolerant tone of the letter, its restriction on free speech and her suggestion that “many people would be happy for her to stay at an enclosed convent, where she could take a vow of silence for hopefully a decade”.

Shades of Ireland's past still with us, where people considered an embarrassment were placed out of sight and out of mind?


Lisburn, Co Antrim

Ban tractors from A roads and save lives

In view of the recent spate of deaths involving tractors on our roads, is it not time to bring forward a radical solution?

I would suggest that, in these days of fast and intensive traffic, it is only logical to ban tractors and other slow-moving traffic from our A roads.

This is simply an extension of the current, long-time ban which prevails on motorways.

Tractors are not only directly involved in many accidents, they also indirectly cause additional accidents, due to frustration engendered in drivers following these things for miles.

I think the time is now ripe (or may I suggest overdue) for this measure.


Newcastle, Co Down

Parents beware noxious weed

With school holidays upon us and giant hogweed being in full flower (and growing freely on the A2 carriageway), can parents and children be made aware of the serious health issues associated with the slightest touch of this noxious weed?


Bangor, Co Down

Israel not bad guy in this case

I am deeply troubled that Eamonn McCann (DebateNI, June 25) seeks to demonise Israel for its attempts to free the three Israeli students kidnapped by militants.

I am aware of several articles from this journalist which are blatantly biased against Israel.

Why this demonisation of the region’s only democracy?


By email

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