UUP calls on Government to cut NI corporation tax

< Back To News

UUP calls on Government to cut NI corporation tax


Let the world know Northern Ireland means business


Ulster Unionist economy spokesperson, Mike Nesbitt MLA, has called for an urgent return to Stormont, in order to have ministers in place for the Northern Ireland Investment Summit in September. Several hundred delegates are expected in Belfast for the conference, representing huge potential for inward investment from the United States, continental Europe and the Republic of Ireland.

Mike Nesbitt said: “If proponents of the Windsor Framework are right to say it offers unique dual access to both the European Single Market and UK Internal Market, then politicians have a duty to do all we can to enhance the economic environment and in the first instance that means demonstrating we can provide stability in government. Frankly, it would be a political crime to do otherwise.

“When the north east of the island was an economic powerhouse a hundred years ago, we had a global reputation in a number of sectors, including agriculture, textiles, engineering and shipbuilding. Today, we are again making our mark internationally, in creative industries, financial and professional services, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, Net Zero and cyber security.

“Our business leaders have done their part. It’s now over to politicians to respond in kind, re-opening the debate on how best to create the environment in which wealth creators can generate more jobs, yielding greater tax takes that better fund our hard-pressed public services.

“A key element of that debate must be Corporation Tax (CT). When I entered politics over a decade ago, the Ulster Unionist Party was the one suggesting we set a Northern Ireland specific CT rate. We saw it as a game changer for the economy, in recognition of the huge advantage enjoyed by the Republic of Ireland, who were attracting Foreign Direct Investors with the lure of lower tax demands. We need to diminish the power of that differential.

“Given the Dublin Government is being forced to raise their rate of Corporation Tax in line with new international standards, the time is right to consider activating Stormont’s right to apply our own CT rate. The open question is whether we are still required to follow the so-called Azores Ruling, which was a European Union decision that linked a lower rate of Corporation Tax to a reduction in our annual Block Grant. Given we have left the EU, this is a test of whether Brexit means we have really “taken back control”.

“Having spent time in New York, Washington DC, Houston and Atlanta in the weeks since the Windsor Framework was announced, the common theme I was hearing was that the time is right to look at investing in Northern Ireland – not because we need a helping hand, but because American business people understand the Framework makes Northern Ireland an attractive place to do business. I got the same message in Scotland last week.

“The Northern Ireland Investment Summit is 12 weeks away. That is time enough to get devolution back up and running, allowing potential inward investors to focus exclusively on the unique offer of our economy, untainted by concerns about our divisive and often dysfunctional politics.”