Devolved Northern Ireland tax powers could boost Scottish No campaign
Devolving corporation tax to Northern Ireland could help the No to independence campaign in Scotland, Stormont’s Finance Minister has
• Westminster is considering devolving corporation tax to Northern Ireland
• Northern Ireland Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has said that devolving the tax could lead to calls for David Cameron to do the same for Scotland
• But he added that doing so would also demonstrate Mr Cameron’s willingness to give more powers to devolved regions of the UK
Westminster is currently looking at the case for giving Nothern Ireland power over the tax.
David Cameron pledged to look at devolving more powers to Scotland if it votes No to independence but will only do so after the referendum.
He is also expected to veto a second question in the referendum on further devolution of fiscal powers, so-called devo max.
Stormont is pressing Westminster for a quick decision on its corporation tax proposals.
Speaking to Northern Irish broadcaster UTV, Minister for Finance Sammy Wilson acknowledged that Mr Cameron could have a political problem over devolving corporation tax to Northern Ireland because it could then be argued that he would have to do the same with Scotland.
But Mr Cameron could turn the argument round and use it to demonstrate that Westminster is willing to give more powers to the devolved regions if the economic case can be made, he suggested.
“I would actually say to the Prime Minister, ‘you can turn it around’,” said Mr Wilson.
“One of the reasons why Alex Salmond says he wants independence is because ‘Westminster will hold on to everything’.
“Well I think the Prime Minister can say, ‘That’s not the case. Where a devolved authority makes a good argument to have something devolved, we will give it. Northern Ireland came and made a good argument to rebalance their economy and needed the devolution of corporation tax. They came, they gave solid arguments and we released corporation tax to the devolved assembly in Northern Ireland. If Scotland makes a good argument they can get things devolved’.”
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