'2016 before corp tax' - Robinson

Published Thursday, 22 November 2012
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First Minister Peter Robinson said it will be 2016 before corporation tax will be devolved to Northern Ireland.

'2016 before corp tax' - Robinson
The DUP leader spoke to UTV. (© PA)

Mr Robinson said measures must be put in place before the business tax rate could be lowered.

"In terms of corporation tax, the facts are that there has to be legislation prepared and there has to be significant IT changes to be made," the DUP leader told UTV.

"The timetable that we were given was well in excess of 2016 and has been pulled back to 2016.

"Of course if we knew we were getting corporation tax we would be able to go out and market Northern Ireland on the basis of it coming because it will be several years becomes could get here and be making a profit so if we can get corporation tax early on we will get the benefits."

Advocates of the tax plan to reduce the local tax rate to 12.5% believe it will improve the region's ability to attract investment and allow NI to compete on a level playing field with the Republic.

However the cost would be a loss of Assembly finding from Westminster.

A report on the proposals was handed over to Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday.

He said he will study the documents carefully - but made no definitive commitment.

Mr Robinson said the Executive have taken "sound" steps in the meantime to bolster the local economy and help people and businesses.

He continued: "In terms of what's happening in the meantime we have our economic strategy. It's sound and it's fundamentally right, we are obviously facing - as is every other economy - a global recession and we have put in place immediate steps during the course of the last number of weeks to try and help our economy."

© UTV News
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8 Comments
Realist in England wrote (675 days ago):
Go compare - what you say is partly true but it's not really very important or relevant to the corporation tax issue which, as I said, is not a question of uniting Ireland at this juncture. It is only a question of both parts of our divided nation coming together to work for general good of all the Irish people. Even Peter Robinson was saying recently how he wants to see co-operation between Stormont and Leinster House that benefits the whole of Ireland. The point of origin thing/united Ireland thing is a red herring in my opinion but I will address it anyway. The price you pay in a major supermarket that also exists over here would be the same as I would pay, but someone in London would pay more. Consistent pricing ignores the fact that wages are higher where I am than in the six counties. In the south east they are higher still. Yet it is only in London with its higher land prices/rent that supermarkets inflate their prices. The M&S on Guernsey sells goods at higher prices than in England because of the cost of shipping them over (quite annoying when English prices are still flashed on the packaging), but it is not that much more. Given that goods would be shipped in bulk (relative to Guernsey), British produce sold in Ireland would not be inflated by much at all. On the other hand, produce from the ex-Free State would be cheaper and stuff from further afield would presumably stay the same as Britain and Ireland are fairly identical in terms of air miles. In Ireland, historically, it has always been an east/west divide rather than a north/south divide. Belfast and Dublin will continue to prosper, in no small part due to their proximity to sea ports for ease of trade with Britain and the continent. Yet much of the big tech investment in Ireland recently has been located in places like Limerick - near to universities. I think your Belfast-centric view is unfair - the people of north Antrim get on fine, as do those of Derry/south Down/etc. The view that the world ends at Glemgormley/Lisburn is as ill-founded as the idea it ends at Derry/Newry. I also think that your fear of a united Ireland harming the local economy is misplaced. Either way - bringing the national question into play misses the point that the only thing under scrutiny here is the corporation tax rate, and my position on that remains the same. Good idea, but some issues need to be addressed first to avoid harming the six county economy without benefiting anyone else except the large foreign companies that all already raking in the euros/dollars/etc.
go compare in another part of the world wrote (675 days ago):
Salaries and wages tend to reflect the cost of living more in the SE of England though. But you fail to acknowledge that the further from the point of origin, the more expensive prices get. In a united Ireland, Belfast would be made redundant as Dublin becomes the main focus and investment would be directed away from areas in the north and other outlying areas, same way most of the money invested in Northern Ireland doesn't make it past Glengormley, which is pretty much the end of the world as far as the people of Belfast are concerned. Similar to the north/south divide in England.
Realist in England wrote (676 days ago):
Go compare - this isn't about a united Ireland. Yes, a in united Ireland taxes and prices would become harmonised. Belfast/Derry/etc. would remain cheaper than Dublin, however (more like Cork/Letterkenny, etc.). Property in the south east of England is much more expensive than in the north east, for example - not everywhere is as expensive as London. This thread is about the Irish people coming together to harmonise their corporation tax rates in order to best share foreign investment across the nation. My argument is that the idea is laudable but not practical at the moment. The north under-invests in its universities. The British state's changes to funding do two things. One - they exclude the poorest from third level education via high fees (students get grants and don't pay fees, other than an admin charge, in the Free State). That means that some intelligent people from poor areas do not go to university and the places are taken by less able but more affluent students. The second thing it does, via reductions in research council funding, is that you get less funded PhDs available. Again, less people can afford doctorates and available (non-funded) places are often snapped up by rich foreigners who take their skills home with them after they graduate. The Free State has a much more attractive skill base for foreign companies. Without addressing wages/benefits/ university&research funding/etc., reducing your rate would be likely to cost much more in terms of reductions in your 'block grant' as all the companies already there would pay less. That is why I support a period of harmonisation prior to actually committing to the move. By the way - it was funny reading you say 'Local Purchasing Power in Dublin is 3.50% lower than in Belfast'. Ignoring that the inflated supermarket prices, etc. in London would make a similar statement true of London - I contend that someone earning twice as much for the same job wouldn't care too much about your 3.5%. Likewise someone with three times higher unemployment benefits. The Free State is not perfect by any means but it is a hell of a lot better than some people seem to think on here.
go compare in another part of the world wrote (676 days ago):
@Realist, thanks but the point is, if Ireland was united, prices in the then former Northern Ireland would reflect those of Dublin, not London, a city with a population about the same as the island of Ireland, many of them, perhaps yourself included, having left the economic disaster known as Ireland to suckle at the teat of that cash cow, the UK. Even dear old Ireland had to go cap in hand back to them for a top-up loan not that long ago. Republicanism? Unionism? Don't make me laugh, it's nothing but a rat race.
Realist in England wrote (676 days ago):
Go compare - your comments are spurious. If you want to compare the capital and commercial hub of Ireland with that of a similar place under British control, then you must compare Dublin with London. I think you'd find London much more expensive. Belfast is a major city, of course - like Cork, Glasgow, etc. Make comparisons between alike things or do not make them at all. You seem think I consider the Free State to be universally better; I do not. I said that the time should be taken to equilibrate various factors across the nation. Failure to do so would mean that large companies that employ non-skilled workers would err against investment in the Free State as wages would be higher there but companies requiring the guaranteed availability of highly skilled workers would continue to favour that part of the country as there are more people looking for work in all sectors there due to the higher unemployment rates. Wages need to increase in the north, even if unemployment rises as a result. Assuming that that increases taxation income, it should then be re-invested in third level education to train people to compete for jobs that are currently concentrated in the Free State and in increasing state benefits to harmonise the standard of living for the most deprived in society. I don't want any part of the country to suffer deprivation as a result of Westminster's interference in our affairs. Ideally, I'd like to see a completely new Ireland that was agreed and had the powers to set tax rates in the interests of the people and to give incentives for investment in less well-off regions. That is republican ideology. Failing that, pragmatically, Stormont and Leinster House should work together to reject Cameron's anti-growth policies and do what is best for the Irish people as a whole. Harmonisation of corporation tax is an important step down that road but it should only happen when the conditions have been set to make it work best for all concerned. Otherwise you risk having your 'block grant' nonsense reduced for minimal return, ultimately making local people worse off. I support the 2016 suggestion, but only assuming that active harmonisation measures are taken in the meantime.
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