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Video: Economy Minister Simon Hamilton - "It was never always just about corporation tax"


Economy Minister Simon Hamilton has said a lower corporation tax - while it is important - does not represent the full future economic picture for Northern Ireland.

Mr Hamilton was giving his first major speech at a business breakfast in Allstate, Belfast, organised by the NI Chamber of Commerce.

There is concern in NI that if Chancellor George Osborne reduces the corporation tax rate in Britain to 15%, it will make it more difficult for the province to attract future investment.

The rate in the Republic is currently 12.5% - a rate NI is to have - but not until 2018.

"We have to wait and see, what the Chancellor does - and he may not even be the Chancellor after a new Prime Minister is in place," said Mr Hamilton. "

"He has been talking about lower than 15% but we are not sure when that might be. There is a lot of uncertainty about who might implement it, when they meet implement it and in what way they might implement it.

"But if indeed that rate does go lower, it is good for NI in terms of the cost aspect of it.

"Clearly we want to have a competitive advantage and we are very much open to the conversation of taking that corporation tax lower than event 12.5%."

But the Economy Minister stressed: "But it isn't just about - and never was just about - having a low rate of corporation tax.

"Why we were seeking that was to give us an even greater boost in terms of our economic proposition - on top of the fact that we have a low-cost economy in terms of labour, property costs and some fantastic labour able to fill those jobs."

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