Published Tuesday, 09 October 2012
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Northern Ireland representatives held a breakfast at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham, where they stressed the need for lower corporation tax in the region.
NI Secretary of State Theresa Villiers acknowledged the concerns of the business community in Northern Ireland but said that the issue is a 'constitutional' as well as an economic matter.
But Mrs Foster is pushing for the issue to be devolved, saying there is no 'Plan B'.
"Up until now we have been using everything that we have in Northern Ireland, a young talented workforce, (a) cost competitive area, part of the UK regulatory system and because of that despite the fact that we only have 2.7% of the population of the United Kingdom, we have 7% of foreign direct investment," she said.
"Can you imagine what we would be able to achieve if we have a lower rate of corporation tax?"
"The chancellor has already set his face to lower corporation tax in the United Kingdom, all we are asking him to do is to accelerate that in Northern Ireland."
Sinn Féin MP Pat Doherty also attended the breakfast to make the case for corporation tax. He believes the government has already made a commitment to devolve the issue.
"It's going on now far too long," he said. "A commitment was made that this would happen, and we need to see now was this just a personal commitment...or is this Tory government really serious about dealing with the economic situation in the North?"
The Confederation of British Industry says the Republic, who has a low rate of corporate tax, is the main business competitor with Northern Ireland and this is putting the region at a disadvantage.
"Our economy is in big trouble at the minute, unemployment is rising very rapidly, foreign direct investment is not coming as quickly as it should be," tax consultant Eamonn Donaghy said at the event.
"Corporation tax isn't a silver bullet but it's a game changer and we really need a reduced rate of corporation tax now."
On Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron told UTV Northern Ireland has made a good case for corporation tax and that the Government has "good faith" in devolving powers to Northern Ireland.
He admitted there were "difficult issues" in devolving corporation tax to one part of the UK but said Northern Ireland has a "particularly strong case" because of the competition from the Republic.