Speaking after Chancellor George Osborne announced in today’s Autumn Statement that the power will be transferred in the current Parliament, depending on the outcome of all-party talks, Mrs Long said it was important a corresponding increased investment in skills and proper financial plan from the Executive followed any move.
“Alliance has long supported Northern Ireland obtaining the power to vary the rate of Corporation Tax, as it gives us the opportunity to transform our economy in terms of both job creation and the generation of wealth.
“This can encourage local companies to grow further and attract more inward investment, as well as addressing the competitive advantage the Republic currently enjoys with its lower rate. The results should include an increase in export sales and a closing of the productivity gap between this region and the rest of the UK.
“The prize for Northern Ireland could be very significant but Alliance wants to make sure this opportunity is delivered responsibly. A lower level of Corporation Tax cannot be successful in a vacuum. We need to see continued investment to assist economic growth, among other moves. Before making any commitments around a revised rate of Corporation Tax, it is important the Executive sets out a clear and sustainable plan as to how this would be funded.
“We have been consistently calling for serious engagement from all parties on all the issues under consideration in these talks. This news increases the need for a comprehensive agreement dealing with all the topics on the table, not a piecemeal approach.”