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Northern Ireland economy has a lot going for it

Tax accountants, such as Eamonn Donaghy (News, August 8), have little idea what generates the total number of jobs in the economy. They look after the favoured few in individual companies. His statement says it all: we must agree to a reduction in corporation tax in principle and then let the numbers look after themselves.

He is like a reckless gambler wanting to put £700m-a-year of our public money on a last throw of the dice.

The performance of the Northern Ireland economy over the past 40 years has been much better than is painted by corporation tax-cutting lobbyists, with their vested interests. We have kept up with - and caught up considerably on - Great Britain, which is not bad, all things considered.

To grow it further, we should stick to our knitting. Yes, we need better early years education, more apprenticeships, better university-business links, better broadband, more finance and more management training.

But we have a 20% cost advantage in wages and rents over both Great Britain and the Republic. We have plenty of skilled graduates. We have a corporation tax rate that is already low by EU and world standards (but not the Republc of Ireland). We have a very competitive sterling exchange rate against the euro and the dollar.

The private sector already has every economic incentive to get on with it without further pillaging our public health and education sectors.

BOYD BLACK

Secretary, Labour Party in Northern Ireland

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