Derry business leaders were yesterday urged to lobby for corporation tax powers to be devolved to Northern Ireland.
Secretary of State Owen Patterson told business leaders in a meeting at Hillsborough Castle that a reduction in corporation tax would be “a major catalyst to reviving the private sector in Northern Ireland”.
He urged local business leaders to make their voices heard as part of the consultation on rebalancing the North’s economy, which was launched at Westminster last month.
Among the Derry representatives at the meeting was local chamber of commerce president Padraig Canavan.
He said: “The Chamber believes that all local businesses are very supportive of the move to have corporation tax powers devolved to Northern Ireland and corporation tax reduced. It’s one of a number of things that makes the area more attractive to investors and gives businesses more flexibility in how they use their profits. It enables them to invest more to stimulate further growth.
“That contributes to the overall aim of making Northern Ireland more self-sufficient and less reliant on the public sector.
“There was a significant collection of people from business organisations across Northern Ireland all in one room at the meeting with secretary of state Owen Paterson.”
Martin McCrossan, of Derry City Centre Traders Forum, also attended the meeting. “We’ll be calling on all of our members to lobby and make their voices heard in favour of Northern Ireland taking control of its corporation tax and lowering it in line with the Republic’s rate,” he said.
Mr McCrossan added that the ‘spin off effect’ for local businesses would be huge as it would attract investment which is currently being lost to the Republic of Ireland.
“It’s vitally important for the entire economy that Northern Ireland’s corporation tax rate is lowered,” he added.