North's Taxing Issue


THE UK government must decide urgently if Northern Ireland should get the power to set its own rate of corporation tax rather than waiting to see the outcome of the Scottish independence debate, one of the North’s top business leaders has urged.

Ian Coulter, chairman of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in Northern Ireland, said the North’s economy “stands at a crossroads” and a decision needed to be taken once and for all on the issue of corporation tax.

The Norths current rate is 24 per cent. The consensus among business bodies is that the rate should at least match that of the Republic, 12.5 per cent.

Mr Coulter said the tax debate had gone on for far too long, with the result that many people had decided that the campaign to secure tax powers for the Northern Ireland Executive was “dead or dying”.

He said recent job losses, such as FG Wilson’s decision to axe 760 jobs in the North, highlighted that “the stakes could not be any higher if we get this wrong”.

Mr Coulter said both he and the CBI believed “it would be wholly inequitable” if the opportunity to kickstart the North’s economy was missed because “some elements of the Scottish government” had indicated that they might also like the power to set their own rate of corporation tax.