Ulster companies make corporation tax case to Westminster

NORTHERN IRISH BUSINESSES are lobbying politicians in Westminster for a cut in the country’s corporation tax rate.

The Treasury is due to announce over the summer whether it will devolve the power to set corporation tax to Belfast.

Scotland received Royal assent for similar powers at the start of this month, with those powers set to come into force in 2016.

Ian Coulter, chairman of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in Northern Ireland, said geographical and economic factors meant that Northern Ireland required an “extra tool” to generate employment.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: “Now we need a decision, one which – if made this summer – could boost confidence and start attracting high-quality investment and jobs to the province.”

Secretary of state Owen Paterson said planning tax affairs was prominent in the thinking of potential investors, and as such the Republic of Ireland 12.5% rate is more attractive than the UK rate of 24% operating in Northern Ireland.

He said: “For me it is very important we have that unity and don’t underestimate that. I can walk into the Cabinet and say I have complete agreement across the political spectrum. That is really powerful.”

He also called on the Treasury to come to a decision shortly after the next meeting of the ministerial working group on 25 June.

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