The DUP’s Robin Newton has an Op Ed in last night’s Belfast Telegraph backing the SDLP’s call for corporation tax to be reduced to 12.5%, or better still 10% so that Northern Ireland can remain competitive with the Republic.He goes on to break the now familiar narrative of “fair shares of the cake”, to arguing that government investment must concentrate on growing the cake:
This one factor – immediately attracting greater levels of inward investment – could achieve a great deal in economic growth and should be central to any strategic and political planning. We also need better targeting of funding in the commercial and education sectors and have to recognise that research and development (R&D) is weak, with existing availability of R&D support for firms poorly utilised. We need to encourage and reward – not penalise – companies that invest in R&D. There should also be a shift in emphasis which redirects the lion’s share of support to firms that focus on innovation and, in partnership with the universities, to reinforce attempts at hi-tech business incubation opportunities and to reassess how private investors can be encouraged to take a greater role in financing businesses in Northern Ireland.