With Paterson gone is it also the end for NI’s Corporation Tax concession?

So we have a new Secretary of State? Great. But what does it mean? Well, locally he was very much a moving spirit behind efforts to reinvigorate the fortunes of the Conservatives in Northern Ireland. To that degree, he may be much missed. Or not.

He did not mind ruffling a few feathers, and was/is unapologetically of the right on his party. One thing he did do and even his critics would not take this away from, was to carry a lot of water on the issue of Corporation Tax.

It was a popular cause amongst business in Northern Ireland amongst whom he probably did some of his strongest networking. In the campaign for a cut in Corporation Tax he probably built his strongest standing local.

What of Corporation Tax concessions, now he is gone?

Well, the Treasury did not like one little bit. Set aside the natural control freakery of the Government’s main budget holders and consider the range of fires giving Northern Ireland such concessions would set off in Scotland for instance.

And, it seems, Sammy Wilson was not too keen on it either, since any short term falls could not be guaranteed without Northern Ireland administration having to deliver further cuts.

Paterson was both a committed and passionate advocate for NI having control over its own Corp Tax rate, largely through his own political conviction that it would help Northern Ireland arise out of what he liked to refer to as its Soviet style economy.

It seems that Northern Ireland is not yet ready for such great leaps forward. And in the absence of its only visible advocate inside government, the odds have to be much better than even that Corporation Tax cuts are now firmly off the table.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty