Alliance MP, Naomi Long, has welcomed the publication of the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee Report on the lowering of corporation tax in Northern Ireland. She said that the report, which endorses calls for the level of corporation tax in Northern Ireland to be reduced, is another important step in achieving this objective.
Naomi Long MP said, “As a member of the Committee, I know that the Inquiry was extensive, examining the practicalities of how this reduction could be achieved, as well as the benefits and the risks involved.
“The case in favour was compelling. Whilst everyone accepts that this is not a silver bullet to resolve all of the challenges facing the Northern Ireland economy, it is clear that it represents the kind of significant change which could transform our economic competitiveness.
“The report has also identified the challenges involved. The ‘Azores Ruling’ means that power to vary corporation tax in Northern Ireland needs to be devolved to the Assembly, which would then have to agree, independently of Westminster, whether and by how much to reduce it. The cost of doing so would, in all probability, have to be met out of the block grant, and one of the challenges is that Treasury do not have a precise figure for how much corporation tax revenue is currently raised in Northern Ireland. This has been identified in the report as one of the first aspects which needs to be resolved.
“Alliance has supported such a reduction for some time, as we believe that it has the potential to significantly boost private sector activity and rebalance the local economy and I am pleased that it has been endorsed in the Committee Report. I hope that this will help to build the case for the Treasury to agree to devolve the powers to vary corporation tax to the Assembly.”