Tax rate not sole investment hurdle

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High corporation tax is not the only factor in Derry’s inward investment ills, the city’s business leaders have warned.

This follows the recent announcement that Global Pharmaceuticals has chosen Tralee over Derry for the location of an investment project yielding 300 jobs. The company stated its decision was based primarily on the lower corporation tax rate in the Irish Republic.

Acknowledging that the corporation tax rate in the North remains “a significant handicap” in competing with the Republic to attract inward investment, Padraig Canavan, President of the city’s chamber of commerce, said other factors also need to be addressed.

“These are our skills base and our accessibility through our transport infrastructure,” he said.

“Despite having a high proportion of bright young people, Northern Ireland does not generate or retain sufficient numbers of graduates - especially in the most relevant core skills - because it exports them.

“That is why the Chamber has been so vocal in calling for the substantial expansion of the University of Ulster’s Magee campus, with more students and more courses in the science, technology, engineering, maths and creative industries subjects.”

The “weak state” of the region’s transport infrastructure also must not be overlooked.

““The A6 link with Belfast has long been unfit for purpose and its upgrade remains the single most urgent and important transport project for the region. The need for the upgrade of the Derry-Londonderry to Coleraine train line is also necessary and has rightly been the focus of much recent commentary,” Mr Canavan added.