Farry says corporation tax reduction won’t compensate for Brexit instability

Alliance Economy spokesperson Stephen Farry has said while a UK-wide corporation tax reduction might be helpful in the short term, it wouldn’t compensate for political instability post-Brexit.

The North Down MLA was speaking after Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement he plans to cut corporation tax to less than 15 per cent in order to continue to attract businesses to the UK. Mr Farry said following the EU referendum, the situation had changed “dramatically” from when corporation tax devolution was first mooted.

“We have long promoted Northern Ireland as a place to invest but that is now all at risk due to the result of the EU referendum. While a UK-wide reduction in corporation tax may well be helpful in the current climate, it doesn’t even begin to compensate for the political instability we are likely to now see and a still uncertain future of our ability to gain access to the EU single market.

“Many studies have been carried out around corporation tax and its effects in Northern Ireland. The findings show access to markets, and the level and availability of skills, are vastly more important than tax rates for businesses.

“I would also urge the Chancellor to look at other steps which could be taken to help businesses at this time, which could include either dropping the proposed apprenticeship levy or at least postponing it beyond the intended April 2017 commencement date.

“The vote to leave the EU was a one Alliance regrets. However, it is done and now we need to minimise the impact it will have on our society. The Chancellor needs to ensure the damage to the local economy in particular is as little as possible.”

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