Derry businessmen’s industry tax appeal

Two of Derry’s leading businessmen have appealed to the public to back moves to give Stormont the power to cut corporation tax.

Derry’s chamber of commerce president Padraig Canavan, who is Managing Director of global technology company Singularity, and former chamber president Jim Sammon, MD of Sammon Chartered Surveyors, made the appeal at the launch of Grow NI. Grow NI is an umbrella group of businesses organisations set up to lobby for powers to set corporation tax rates to be devolved to Stormont.

The local business leaders say a cut in the levy will boost inward investment and create much needed private sector employment to stimulate and grow the economy at all levels.

Grow NI is calling on all businesses, employees, job seekers, representative bodies and others to input into the corporation tax debate by responding positively to a Treasury consultation paper before the June 24 deadline.

Speaking after the event Mr Canavan said it is vital that everyone voices their opinion.

“The idea of Grow NI is to raise the profile of the consultation on devolving the power to set corporation tax to the Northern Ireland Assembly. Its purpose is two-fold, first we want Stormont to take control of it and second we want to reduce it in line with the Republic of Ireland rate of 12.5%.”

“All the business organisations in Northern Ireland have now come together to call on their members to reply to the consultation with their perspectives. By June 24 we want as many people as possible to have replied to the consultation because the higher the number of positive replies then the more weight the argument to devolve the power to change the rate will have.”

He said that when the power is devolved the Stormont government will “set a timetable” to gradually reduce the rate to 12.5%, which in turn will make Northern Ireland a much more attractive location for foreign investment and even large scale investment from companies within the UK. The move is seen in the business community as a big game changer in terms of growing the private sector and scaling down the North’s economic reliance on public sector employment.

Secretary of State Owen Paterson has vowed to argue in favour of lower tax charges at Westminster, but has warned that the bid will fail if the public aren’t fully behind it.

The Treasury consultation paper can be accessed at www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/consult_rebalancing_ni_economy.htm