Leadership On Budget And Welfare Reform Needed To Secure Corporation Tax Says Hamilton

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton today said that leadership on budget and welfare reform was needed to secure the devolution of corporation tax to Northern Ireland.

money_screenThe Minister was speaking after the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP delivered his Autumn Statement today.

Corporation tax, paid by companies on their profits, is currently set at 21 % in the UK, which will be reduced to 20% in April 2015. The Republic of Ireland’s corporation tax is levied at a rate of 12.5%.

Simon Hamilton said: “I welcome the commitment by the Chancellor to devolve corporation tax, subject to appropriate progress and financial commitment in the talks process.

“Our persistence, along with the local business community, to reduce corporation tax for Northern Ireland has paid dividends but other parties must now step up and show leadership on budget and welfare reform if the prize of corporation tax is to be secured.

[caption id="attachment_41113" align="alignleft" width="220"]Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA. Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA.[/caption]

“Reducing the rate of corporation tax will help to rebalance our economy by providing locally based businesses with the additional incentive to re-invest while also making Northern Ireland an attractive location for new foreign direct investment.”

The Minister went on to welcome the benefits expected for Northern Ireland in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and said: “The Executive will receive a further £74million as a result of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and this will help in the planning for our 2015-16 budget.”

Simon Hamilton further welcomed a number of announcements in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement that will directly benefit Northern Ireland citizens including the continued freeze on fuel duty, changes to Air Passenger Duty, employment allowance and the abolishment of employer national insurance contributions for apprentices under 25.

Making special reference to the change to personal tax allowance the Minister said: “The personal tax allowance increase in 2015-16 will lift 12,000 local people out of income tax altogether and 617,000 people here will see an average real terms gain of £94.”

Simon Hamilton added: “I very much welcome the change to a progressive approach to stamp duty. The current “slab” approach to stamp duty in the UK has been subject to significant criticism and a progressive structure would be expected to bring significant benefits to people in Northern Ireland.

“I will need to consider the impact of today’s announcement on the potential to devolve responsibility for stamp duty to the Northern Ireland Executive as part of the wider review of fiscal powers which is nearing a conclusion.”