The Belfast Telegraph has a number of articles about the devolution of control over Corporation Tax: with a timeline here.
Finance Minister Simon Hamilton said: “I am optimistic that we will get a positive answer from the Prime Minister.
“I think that the Government wants to do this and we have made a very robust case to them.”
A senior Tory source concurred with this assessment. However, the cost of cutting the tax is likely to be more than £200m a year.
Liam Clarke suggests the decision is linked to the fact that if Scotland remains within the union they will also be given additional tax varying powers.
The ability to reduce corporation tax is not, however, free. Sammy Wilson during his time as finance minister was more cautious than many. He estimated the loss of revenue at £40 million for every percentage point reduction. As Clarke notes:
Nobody is saying it out loud but the best way to do that might involve more taxes. Water charges, which apply in both the UK and the Republic, could free up £400m a year.
That would look like taxing households to subsidise big business. Whether we did that or cut services, pushing through the change would require a degree or political vision and discipline that is not evident at present.
The Belfast Telegraph also notes the rates of corporation tax internationally. It should be noted that a number of large manufacturing economies with proportionally much larger business and industrial sectors have significantly higher rates of the tax.