Ulster Unionist Party Leader, Mike Nesbitt has called on Westminster decision makers to make a positive decision in favour of Northern Ireland gaining the power to vary Corporation Tax.
Mr Nesbitt said:
“The devolution of the power to vary corporation tax may not be the silver bullet to cure all economic ills but it has the potential to be a game changer for the future.
“It was the Ulster Unionist Party which brought the idea to the table in the first place and actively campaigned to get the power devolved. Unfortunately, others took their eye off the ball and instead of concentrating on attaining the political decision to achieve that goal, allowed themselves to be drawn into an elongated debate with the Treasury about the cost, which was always going to be variable, depending on the fluctuation of the UK rate and what exact cut we might agree for Northern Ireland. The only fixed point in the negotiations was the fact the ultimate decision was going to be political and made in Downing Street not the Treasury.
“With all sorts of rumours now circulating as to what the decision will be, it is not a time for Westminster decision makers to baulk despite Stormont`s current tribulations. The decision should be a positive one in favour of Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland needs to start creating wealth for all its people, instead of relying on the state. This has the potential to set us on the right course. The people of Northern Ireland should not be penalised because of the current mismanagement at the heart of the Stormont administration.
“Corporation tax varying powers should be devolved now with Stormont setting itself the target of making the first reduction in 2017. That gives Stormont over two years to plan for it. It also gives Invest NI the opportunity to go out round the world and actively market Northern Ireland as a place that is business friendly, with the tax incentives and a workforce, with the education and skills, to drive business forward.”