So what do you expect from Brown…?

SO no significant cut in corporation tax for Northern Ireland in the budget… and no more expected later today, for political, as much as financial, reasons. Any commission to review the tax is meaningless. What we are expecting is a new ‘innovation fund’, although the Chancellor has previewed it in terms of announcing “details of a new Northern Ireland innovation fund” – suggesting it might not be as new as we think. Given how easily the last so-called ‘£50 billion’ package was dissected – and found to be money already earmarked for Northern Ireland – it will be interesting to see how much of today’s announcement will amount to ‘new’ money. Given that Brown’s November announcement mentioned how the Government will “stand ready to support the innovation and science and the technology in Northern Ireland”, will the ‘innovation fund’ be a re-announcement of a re-announcement? Hope not – but Peter Hain will have kittens declaring how generous Gordo is anyway. To continue with a cynical line of thought just remember that, despite the appearance of hard horse-trading by the DUP and Sinn Fein for a fair economic package, it was the instability created by those parties that led to millions – possibly billions – of dollars of foreign investment heading elsewhere after the 1998 Agreement. International goodwill from Irish-American investors wanting to put something back in the oul’ sod dried up, thanks to the unstable political environment. Now we’re simply playing catch-up for almost a decade of tribal bickering that cost us hundreds of jobs.

  • Crataegus

    The money doesn’t appear to be there so I don’t see much coming this way. Gordon will say its wonderful, Hain will sing his praise and SF and the DUP will be telling us what brilliant negotiators they all are. Who is going to say the Kings new cloths are a con?

    As you say the wasted years probably lost us more money than we will ever receive in handouts.

    The wonders of democracy; we collectively get the government we deserve, but for those of us that didn’t vote for the leading parties it seems like penance for sins we have not committed.

  • Spinster

    “the instability created by those parties that led to millions – possibly billions – of dollars of foreign investment heading elsewhere after the 1998 Agreement.” Amen. The price of begrudgery.

    Now we finance an apartment boom with mortgages that must be paid back with interest. Fun party while it lasts.

    No corporation tax cut BTW. Watch for the SFDUP smoke and mirrors on that one.

    Why let people make their own money? Better for SFDUP to have longrunning bunfights over the shrinking government spending cake.

    With equality legislation this should be a waste of time, but they won’t let that stop them.

  • hotdogx

    In my opinion its more than just hard horse trading between DUP and SINN FEIN that has reduced possible investment in NI. If NI westminster representation equals just 2% of the uk parlament then its only normal that the british will look after themselves first before the throw money into the NI black hole. The british dont care about NI but they do want the peace process to work as it creates a bad image for the UK worldwide. Investment is badly needed, Travelling form the republic to the north is like travelling back in time to the 80s or earlier!

  • IJP

    Any commission to review the tax is meaningless.

    Why is it meaningless?

    I’m not exactly known for my high-tax instincts, but I’m a long way from convinced that corporation tax has anything at all to do with our economic problems in NI.

    A Commission strikes me, for once, as being a very good way to clarify what is a) possible and b) desirable.

    Who is going to say the Kings new cloths are a con?

    The Alliance Party, probably.

  • IJP

    Did all these people who complain about SF and DUP participate in the political system directly to try to stop them?

    Did they even vote?


    Something of an exaggeration there, methinks!

  • Tkmaxx

    The package coming forward is based on encouraging ‘innovation’ and R&D. Exactly the support mechanisms offered by the Government backed Invest NI. Given Invest NI is a woeful organisation – loathed by most business people and light years behind their southern IDA competitors – any new money in these areas represents the limited thinking one could expect from an over dependent public sector driven economy. A significant break in corporation tax is exactly the type of seismic move that would lift our economy. it could have been offered for a ten year period. The EU would have backed that -rather than another injection of peace money into the voluntary sector. The NI economy is primarily based on small businesses – they have just watched corporation tax rise by 2% -so Brown has managed not only to make us uncompetitive for inward investment but he has managed to squeeze our local SME sector. The side show on industrial ratings is just that -again something aimed at most large companies – who are hugely profitable and who want to escape paying rates – but the larger number of SMEs who are in the service sector – pay rates. The wingnuts in the SIB back projects that no one wants like the Maze – – our economy is being run in reverse mode.

  • IJP


    You’re broadly right of course.

    Mind, no one wants anything in NI. Our sports fans are being given a free state-of-the-art stadium, and still they complain!

    As for R&D, we’ve been talking about that for decades. Any idea what precisely we’re going to research and develop…?

  • Wilde Rover

    I wonder what Carson would have made of this latest begging bowl phase of Northern Ireland’s history, especially since his native Dublin is the poster child for Europe’s vibrant movement towards integration.

    I imagine he would have wondered at the folly of transforming a state from the centre of a world power into an unwanted backwater of one of Europe’s Big Three.

    The folly of the majority for thinking suppressing the minority was better than empowering and incorporating them into the new state, and the folly of the minority for thinking that “politics by other means” would yield a “victory.”

    Perhaps a new statue of Carson should be commissioned.

    This one could show him pulling out his hair in exasperation.

  • TKmaxx

    The Maze is not coming free- where do you get that notion – personally I dont care where a new stadium is but I do know they work best when they are city based. There is no infrastructure to support the maze. That will be very expensive.

  • Crataegus


    Divided we fall and in so many things it seems we won’t agree simply for the sake of not agreeing.

    This is not a good package for NI PLC. Much of the differential with the south remains and the small business sector gets hit. Meanwhile our haulage firms will migrate and with them port activity will decrease. If this place is ever to prosper you need financial control back here and cut the cloth accordingly. We are competing with our neighbour the rest of the UK is not.

  • IJP


    The Government is using public money to pay for it. The IFA isn’t paying, the IRFU isn’t paying, the GAA isn’t paying. Basically, it’s a free stadium.

    If people feel there is a city centre location with appropriate access and no planning objections which could site such a stadium fully built by 2011, I suggest they get the money together to buy it… within the next few weeks.


    I seriously doubt all of this.

    I use Dublin Port personally because it’s easier to get to the south of England (and the continent) by that route, not because of the taxes.

    If I ran a financial services firm I’d put it in Dublin before Belfast because you have political stability down there, not because of the taxes.

    If I ran an IT firm I’d put it in Dublin before Belfast because the workforce is better equipped for that industry, not because of the taxes.

    I strongly suspect the whole tax argument is a white elephant. I’m a small businessman myself. Yes, the Budget’s not ideal, but if I were to move it would be for infrastructure, stability and further education, not taxes.

    However, I support Sir George’s idea of a Commission (which, it seems, we’re basically going to get) because it would answer the question once and for all. Perhaps I’m wrong. Let’s find out.

  • IJP

    By the way, when did the Republic of Ireland cease to be Great Britain’s neighbour?!