The circle of the block grant vs lower corporation tax can be squared, we’re told

At last! The Bel Tel carries a thoughtful piece by economic commentator Paul Gosling on how to reconcile the continuing need for the substantial subvention of the block grant with the incentive of a regionally lower corporation tax. He quotes economist Mike Smyth. ” If you don’t do something like this, the subvention will be north of £10bn in a few years. If we don’t do something we will be bailed out by the Treasury in perpetuity.” Making up the … Read more

Budget, what budget?

Reaction to the Northern Ireland budget becomes more confusing as time passes. Northern Ireland is the exception among the three devolved governments, in that pressure to adopt greater taxation powers is not coming from the local adminsistration, but from Westminster. The supposed mandatory nature of the all-party coalition can’t take the whole blame or indeed much of it for  failure. It’s shared among the parties and is strategic rather than purely party political.     To make £4 billion of cuts in as many years, the Executive seems … Read more

Cameron rules out lower CT. What now is the strategy for Northern Ireland’s recovery?

As I feared and after all the hype, the presumed coping stone for a Northern Ireland expansion strategy has been kicked in the long grass. ( Did Cameron stub his toe?) Even though the 12.5 % company tax looks safe in the Republic, (although still tbc) the British government has balked at introducing a similar rate for Northern Ireland, according to the Prime Minister in an interview with the Bel Tel. The reasons are not hard to find and are overwhelmingly … Read more

Corporation tax 2. They’re flying blind. Confusion reigns

The debate over what lower corporation tax for NI only would do for the local economy is in total confusion. That’s my verdict after listening to a couple of hours of frankly embarrassing evidence before the NI Select Committee. I’d got such a different impression from the chairman of Belfast Harbour Board Len O’Hagan yesterday. It was all so very “Ulster.” What you’d expect for such a fundamental shift of policy is for the Executive to commission an authoritative report … Read more

Tax powers for Stormont, a doubtful proposition

Should the Assembly bid to Westminster to take on tax varying powers and lower corporation tax to the Republic’s level of 12.5%? Local experts appearing before the NI Select Committee were divided.  It was pretty much the magic bullet for lobbyists from the Economic Reform Group, Eamonn Donaghy of KPMG and Victor Hewitt of the Economic Research Institute.( I was relieved to see them alive and talking; for judging purely from their websites, they died  a while back- terrible PR that). Their … Read more

TUC and ICTU oppose lower Corporation Tax for Northern Ireland

Interesting to note ICTU Deputy General Secretary Peter Bunting, now sitting on that interim NI Water Board, welcoming a TUC report critical of attempts to lower corporation tax here.  From the Belfast Telegraph report ICTU Deputy General Secretary Peter Bunting said: “This paper should once and for all lay to rest the argument by some vested interests in Northern Ireland that a low corporation tax regime would assist economic growth for all, as opposed to private profit for the few.” As … Read more

After austerity, will Northern Ireland grasp its limited opportunities?

I have to say Brian has it about right when he says OFMdFM cannot afford to continue its newly minted habit of belligerency inside Stormont Castle in its response to the coming demands of the new UK administration. One thing the budget did point out was the degree to which Westminster rather than Stormont sets out the broader lines of social policy. Cameron and Osborne have flagged their intention to shift the emphasis for social action from the state to … Read more

Irish Government Reaction to UK Budget

The Irish Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe, has made a couple of comments in response to the UK Budget announcement.  From the iol report The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O’Keeffe has said he is confident Ireland will not suffer from a reduction in the UK’s corporation tax. The rate is to be cut by 1% next year from 28% – and by a further 1% each year afterwards until its falls to 24%. However, … Read more