NI Corporation Tax Amounts 'Unknown'

An Ulster Unionist politician has welcomed a new report on Corporation Tax from the Westminster Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.

The influential committee has said there is a convincing case for lowering corporation tax in NI and said a reduction could boost the private sector and help innovation and exports.

It was however critical too and said it was "surprised to discover that HM Treasury do not know how much corporation tax is raised in Northern Ireland".

It said it is up to the Stormont Executive to decide what rate it should be lowered to with the current rate set at 28% compared to 12.5% in the Irish Republic.

Mike Nesbitt, (pictured) a member of the Assembly's Enterprise, Trade & Investment Committee, said: "The Ulster Unionist Party welcomes this report as further vindication of our decision to call for the power to vary Corporation Tax to be devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

"I have always regarded a reduction in Corporation Tax as the lead element in a basket of measures comprising an Economic Enterprise Zone and I therefore welcome the comments that continued progress needs to be made on other economic development policy mechanisms such as planning, education, incentives for Research &Development and exporting," he said.

The former UTV journalist also indicated his surprise at the news that the Treasury did not know how much corporation tax is raised in Northern Ireland.

"I am in full agreement that the Executive should have access to as much information as possible before deciding if and how it wishes to lower the rate.
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"It is therefore essential that the Treasury takes steps urgently to establish a system which can accurately assess how much corporation tax is collected in Northern Ireland," he said, noting "this report will help inform the on-going debate and consultation process which is currently underway".

The Stormont Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, has also commented on the report, which the DUP Minister welcomed: "I very much welcome this report from the Affairs Committee. Its conclusion that there is a convincing case for devolving corporation tax to Northern Ireland comes at an important stage in the Government's own consultation process on Rebalancing the Northern Ireland Economy. This report provides a significant contribution to that consultation.

"The issues it raises are extremely complex and we must recognise that changes in corporation tax alone cannot meet all of our economic needs," he continued.

The Minister concluded: "I also very much agree with the Affairs Committee's conclusion that the Executive needs to know just how much tax is raised here. Costs should not cripple the economy in Northern Ireland in the short term. This will be vital in helping us decide how we can take this forward."

The Sinn Fein Finance Committee Member Caitriona Ruane has also welcomed the NI Affairs Committee report that concludes that the lowering of Corporation Tax would help economic recovery.

"The NI Affairs Committee recommendations that lowering of Corporation Tax would benefit the economy is an endorsement of what Sinn Fein has been proposing for a number of years.

"Sinn Fein has long called for a harmonisation of the Corporation Tax across the island of Ireland to ensure that we can compete for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) on the same basis as the rest of the country in order to grow indigenous business on a level playing field," she said.


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