Arlene Foster confirms news due on corporation tax

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has said a 'positive announcement' on corporation tax should be made soon. Picture: Getty

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has said a 'positive announcement' on corporation tax should be made soon. Picture: Getty

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A “positive announcement” on corporation tax should be made within the next few days, the enterprise minister said.

Arlene Foster said devolving the power to cut the rate on business profits to attract more investors would be good for local companies.

However, she expressed disappointment after a senior businessman called into question the ability of politicians to deliver a lowering of corporation tax for Northern Ireland.

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Bro McFerran, managing director of insurance company Allstate NI, expressed doubts.

Mrs Foster said: “I hope that we get a positive announcement in the next few days.

“I believe that it will bring huge benefits to Northern Ireland. If we are going to have more jobs people will have money to spend in our restaurants and shops.

“The level of our economy will rise, small companies will be able to become involved in the supply chain for larger companies.”

Stormont wants to reduce its rate from the UK-wide 21 per cent to match the 12.5 per cent tax rate in the Republic, which is among of the lowest in Europe and a competitor for foreign direct investment.

Advocates of a business tax cut, including Mrs Foster, have said it could attract many more big multinational investors as the Republic of Ireland has with its lower rate.

They said jobs will be higher value and higher paying than those currently being created.

Work done in 2011 by Stormont’s Economic Advisory Group (EAG) estimated that it would create an additional 4,500 jobs a year in the long term and mean that by 2030, the economy would be about 14 per cent bigger than if the tax was not cut.

However, a reduction in corporation tax would mean less revenue is collected for the Treasury.

The rules mean that Stormont would therefore have to hand back a chunk of its annual budget funded by the Treasury to make up for that, a choice former finance minister Sammy Wilson has urged ministers to think carefully about.

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