Don't Use Scotland as an Excuse Over Corporation Tax
24 October 2012
The Chairman of the Institute of Directors Northern Ireland Division has called on Westminster not to use Scotland as an excuse for failing to devolve corporation tax powers to Stormont.
Mervyn McCall addressed business leaders at the IoD NI Annual Lunch sponsored by George Best Belfast City Airport on Thursday in Belfast and said arguments that the Government would have to relent to similar Scottish demands were unfounded.
Mr McCall, who spoke in Belfast as the Joint Ministerial Working Group gathered in London for the final meeting over the issue, said:
“Scotland has not asked for the power to devolve corporation tax. Indeed, several Scottish business organisations have rejected it as a proposal.
“The cost of lowering corporation tax to 12.5% would be over £2 billion per annum in Scotland. It would have little or no impact on their economy.
“In Northern Ireland we have won the economic argument and all parties agree that lowering corporation tax will create jobs, jobs and more jobs.”
In a week where David Cameron and Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond agreed upon a deal on the Scottish independence referendum, Mervyn McCall continued:
“My message to our new Secretary of State Theresa Villiers, the Treasury and the Prime Minister is clear. If you are concerned about Scotland, show them that they don’t require independence to set their own agenda.
“It can be accomplished from within the union and I want the Prime Minister to be able to point to Northern Ireland as an example of this.
“I fear delaying a decision could prevent our economy from rebalancing.
“Northern Ireland should be given the opportunity to help itself through the lowering of corporation tax rates.”
The Chief Executive of International Airlines Group (IAG), Willie Walsh also addressed the prestigious Annual Lunch held at the Holiday Inn in Belfast.
In the presence of two key aviation figures, Willie Walsh and the owner of Belfast City Airport, Hans Meissner, Mervyn McCall also commented on Northern Ireland’s planning system:
“It’s the Number 1 stumbling block and principal concern of our members.
“We will continue to lobby and work with Government to create a planning system that understands and gives due weight to decisions that show economic benefit, provides answers in a timely manner and narrows the opportunity for legal challenge.
“The red tape of bureaucracy is stifling Northern Ireland’s ability to flourish.”