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Corporation Tex reduction still a viable prospect for NI

08 July 2016

7th July 2016

The imminent reduction in Northern Ireland’s rate of Corporation Tax can still be the policy intervention needed to move the region onto a new economic footing, according to GROW NI, the umbrella group which represents business organisations employing over 200,000 people across Northern Ireland. GROW NI has written to the First and deputy First Ministers to request a meeting with the entire NI Executive.

Speaking after a meeting of the group today spokesman Mervyn McCall outlined the GROW NI position in the wake of the Brexit referendum.

“Of course we acknowledge the current uncertainty created by the referendum result and the sooner we get a clearer picture of the political outworking of the vote the better for the economy. In the meantime though our focus remains very clear - implementation of a 12.5% rate of corporation tax in NI from 1 April 2018. The battle to secure the power to set our own Corporation Tax rate was long, drawn out, and required a unified political and business voice in our dealings with the UK Government. It remains a viable and relevant policy tool.

“The fact that the Chancellor George Osborne has signalled an intention to reduce the national level of Corporation Tax shows that we in Northern Ireland are right to view reduced tax as a incentive to attracting investment and to supporting economic regeneration. However the exact rate and the date of implementation of this UK wide rate have not been set. Here in NI, our structures and legislation are already in place and we are on course to have a lower tax rate of 12.5%, in a faster timeframe than the rest of the UK. A lower, faster approach will put us in a very positive position.

“We are equally clear that a reduced corporation tax rate on its own will not be enough to ensure that we maximise our potential. Increased high quality inward investment will depend on and look for, a high quality talent pool across a range of sectors and will demand that our physical and communications infrastructure is fit for purpose. That will require continued investment in our universities and FE colleges, as well as our roads and rail network.

“We are standing alongside our political representatives, in the Executive and in opposition, as they focus on the need for investment and jobs. In a post Brexit environment we in Northern Ireland need to carve out our own future and make long term investment plans which will help us realise our economic potential and create a significant number of long term, high value added, well paid jobs.

“A successful economy can be the driver of a successful Northern Ireland and that means that all Departments and all Ministers need to work together with a collective vision. We have written to the First Ministers and requesting a meeting with the entire Executive as quickly as possible, to engage with all Ministers and contribute to the debate about how to make Northern Ireland work. That prize is still within our own grasp.”

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