Leo Varadkar needs to stand up to the Franco-German axis for Ireland and the small nations of the European Union

Since it became clear that Angela Merkel would be re-elected as German Chancellor, there has been a re-focused approach to tax harmonisation within the European Union, driven mostly by Emmanuel Macron’s France, along with Germany. This has been covered by numerous media outlets and there is little I can add to the conversation. The argument is that France and Germany who are now both stable and revitalised after momentous national elections, will look to readjust the balance of Europe. It … Read more

EU countries clamping down on tax avoidance is creating problems for the Republic…

Last week started with Philip Hammond’s extraordinary  threat to the EU that he would turn the UK into a tax haven, a sort of “Caymans sur la Manche”, if you will. All because Michel Barnier and his fellow negotiators are unlikely to  give the UK what it wants, a free ride.  Mr. Hammond gave the Welt am Sonntag the ill advised interview, available here (in German), during a short trip to Germany to meet the former tax inspector and current … Read more

“Now, it’s probably going to be a difficult argument with the Treasury at the minute…”

Interesting, short, snippet from the BBC on that perennial favourite, and long promised, corporation tax cut.  From the BBC’s news in brief. Northern Ireland’s corporation tax rate is due to drop to 12.5% from April 2018 – but the RHI crisis calls this into question. “That legislation can only happen if the Treasury gives the green light,” said BBC News NI Economics Editor John Campbell. “What’s called a commencement’s clause. “Basically, the Treasury has to say, “we’ve looked at Northern … Read more

Poor little Ireland is squeezed in the battle of the titans

The  basic foundation for the Celtic Tiger and the best hope for its revival? Or a scam that makes Ireland no better than tax haven? The day of reckoning may have arrived – subject to appeal.The Commission insists that they money must be used to pay down Irish debt anyway.  Ireland backs away from treating the EU Commission’s implied offer of a €13 billion windfall from Apple because of real fears that wider FDI will dry up if other foreign … Read more

US Consulate: “We anticipate that a US trade and investment delegation will visit Northern Ireland in the first half of 2017”

The Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, has, in effect, called ‘bullshit’ on Martin McGuinness‘ claim that a proposed US investment delegation to Northern Ireland has been postponed “directly as a result of the vote” in the UK-wide EU membership referendum. Unlike the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister, echoed by his party colleague, Conor Murphy, the Secretary of State named the source of her information …Theresa Villiers said that the US Special Envoy Gary Hart had blamed the decision of … Read more

Corporation Tax : a day late and a dollar short

Not for the first time, the vexed issue of the plan to reduce corporation tax in Northern Ireland is  in the news again in the midst of ongoing controversy about how much it will cost to implement the tax cut, and to what extent it will benefit the economy here. Corporation tax is a rare example of a headline economic policy that enjoys public support across the respective leaderships of both the DUP and Sinn Féin. While Sammy Wilson, particularly during his time as … Read more

The Chancellor leaves the NI Assembly’s Business Growth Strategy in Tatters following Budget 2016…

Earlier today the Chancellor left the Northern Ireland Assembly’s Business Growth Strategy in Tatters following the release earlier today of Budget 2016. Many of us have argued on the Slugger Platform in recent years, that the current obsession by Stormont to put all of its economic eggs in the 12.5% Corporation Tax basket was misguided and their efforts would be better served to create the economic conditions to enable our indigenous businesses, large, medium and small to thrive. This could … Read more

The Executive needs to get its priorities straight

Craig Harrison writes for us about Executive and its priorities… With the dust settled around Parliament buildings after the Assembly voted to pass the Executive Budget 2016/17, now is a good time to reflect on the financial deal Northern Ireland is committed to for the next year. While there is much to be commended in the spending plan – particularly the additional monies allocated to the new Health Department – the Executive won’t be getting a pat on the back … Read more

Stormont House: A Progressive Unionist Alternative

PROGRESSIVE ALTERNATIVE: Lowering Corporation Tax is not the magic wand which many believe it to be, argues PUP Cllr Julie Anne Corr-Jonnson. How many will invest the tax cut in nice holidays and better cars as opposed to the creation of new jobs? There are no sanctions, no prohibitions and no guarantees.

Corbynomics inspiration Richard Murphy on the dogma behind demands to lower NI Corporation Tax

Richard Murphy is the Quaker chartered accountant and blogger who is credited with inspiring Corbynomics. He spoke at Tax Haven Ulster: Faith, Justice & Corporation Tax in Northern Ireland, a Christians on the Left event held on Friday night in Belfast that examined the counter arguments to dropping our local rate of Corporation Tax. You can listen back to the full event using the playlist at the bottom of this post. With Irish roots, Richard Murphy first heard arguments being … Read more

The Great Corporation Tax Reform Dilusion

Budget 2015 presented yesterday by George Osborne included another cut to the UK Headline Corporation Tax from 20% to 19% in 2017 and 18% in 2020 which means that the UK is now has the lowest Corporation Tax rate of the G20 Nations. The difference between the headline Rate in the Republic of Ireland and the UK will now be just 5.5% by 2020 and this single Budget change leaves the Northern Ireland Assembly blinkered policy of securing a 12.5% … Read more

The casino budget – a triumph of hope over experience

Well, it’s finally here. After what seemed like an interminable period of consultations, talks, talks about talks, and talks about curried yoghurt, we finally have some numbers. The fact that the Budget is not quite as gruesome as might originally been feared is being spun as some sort of victory. It is still deeply grim reading. First, the good news. Current spending (non-ringfenced DEL) will be £156.6m higher than was originally proposed under the Draft Budget. The £158.9m of extra … Read more

Corr-Johnston: What we need is Robin Hood when all we have is Prince John.

Corporation Tax dominated the headlines in 2014, writing for Slugger the PUP Cllr for Oldpark, Julie Ann Corr-Johnston argues for a rethink of the entire debate Corporation tax will probably go over the heads of many in our community, but it has the potential of bringing 50-60,000 jobs into Northern Ireland over the coming years-Peter Robinson If Peter Robinson was Prince John in the 1973 Disney cartoon version of Robin Hood, I wonder which of his DUP buddies would be … Read more

The Corporation Tax cut experiment – lessons learned from The Azores

The rocky outcrop of The Azores has been talked about more than is usual in Northern Ireland in recent months and years.  This isn’t due to its sudden explosion in popularity as a holiday destination for the good burghers of Ulster, but because of a 2006 ruling of the Court of Justice of the European Communities.  This decision concerned Portugal allowing its autonomous regions to reduce the rate of personal and corporate taxes by 30%, which the territory of The … Read more

Belfast Harbour Up For Sale…

After some skirting around the issue consideration, and after having the idea of selling slammed as ‘shortsighted’ by the head of the Northern Ireland Science Park, it now appears today that Belfast Harbour Estate will be sold for £500m. The money will go to the Executive, presumably to fund the cut to NI’s corporation tax. You may remember yesterday I was having a bit of a rant about Belfast City Council’s decision to spend £105m on refurbishing / redeveloping leisure … Read more

Cartoon – Spencer on Tuesday

George Osborne set corporation tax on the condition that talks be resolved and fiscal responsibility be shown. A ‘Peace Fund’ sweetener is on the table too. Sinn Fein has counter-conditioned with a “shopping list” of demands. Here’s this weeks cartoon offering in response to events. Thanks to the Firemen for photoshop work. Brian SpencerBrian is a writer, artist, political cartoonist and legal blogger. Actively tweeting from @brianjohnspencr. More information here: http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/ http://www.brianjohnspencer.com/

Corporation Tax: Picking The Wrong Fight

You might notice from time to time that Foster, DETI, OFMDFM et al. have a penchant for announcing jobs…except they tend to announce a certain kind of job; big jobs, high paying jobs, important jobs, graduate jobs. It’s tough to picture the big wigs rolling down the hill to announce a greengrocers expansion or for the opening of a pub (although perhaps that’s another matter entirely). The digital media, financial and media jobs are without a doubt greater net contributors … Read more

Has Sturgeon thrown a spanner in the works over Corporation Tax?

There is increasing speculation that the Chancellor, George Osbourne is to announce that Corporation Tax powers will be devolved to Northern Ireland. All of the main parties here support the move, so you would think it would be relatively simple to do it. However, the Scottish First Minister, Nicola Stugeon might have just thrown a spanner in the works for that plan as she told SKY News this morning .@NicolaSturgeon: if Northern Ireland gets power over Corporation Tax then these … Read more

Corporation tax powers huge test for Stormont

The word is out that the government will grant  Stormont control over corporation tax when the Chancellor makes his Autumn Statement on 3 December.  Peter Robinson is  talking with the confidence of a done deal.  David Cameron gave a broad hint this morning as he was  grilled by  all the select committees chairs in the Commons Liaison Committee this morning on his current thinking on more devolution  powers. Laurence Robertson, the Conservative chair of the Northern Ireland committee. Q: What … Read more