Paisley urges lower corporation tax

Fri, Jun 1, 2007, 01:00

The North must retain its brightest people and lower its corporation tax if its economy is to prosper, First Minister Ian Paisley jnr has said.

The Democratic Unionist leader told the Business in the Community Awards in Belfast City Hall it was essential that the North stopped the "brain drain" if it was to develop hi-tech and knowledge-based industries.

He said the executive was still pushing for a more favourable level of corporation tax.

"This brain drain has cost our economy greatly as our talented young people pursued their careers elsewhere and contributed to the success of their new homeland," the North Antrim MP said.

"Northern Ireland's future economic success will be built on hi-tech and knowledge-based industries.

"There just aren't sufficient talented, motivated and qualified individuals to act as the springboard to match expectations and give the economy the boost it needs.

He said DUP ministers in the Executive were pressing Sir David Varney, the former Inland Revenue chief appointed to head a review into taxation in Northern Ireland, for a reduction in corporation tax to a more competitive rate.

He said such a move would allow the North expand its export base "through the attraction of profitable foreign direct investment" and create an economy less dependent on a subvention from central government.