Northern Ireland

Ministers due at select committee over corporation tax

Arlene Foster
Image caption Enterprise minister Arlene Foster will give evidence to the NI Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday

The Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has said it is unlikely that there will be a reduction in corporation tax here before the assembly election.

She said the executive needed to know how much a tax cut would cost and was awaiting information from the Treasury.

Ms Foster and the Finance Minister Sammy Wilson are to give evidence on corporation tax to the NI Affairs Committee in Westminster on Wednesday.

The main rate in NI is currently 28%, compared to 12% in the Irish Republic.

Many economists and politicians have argued that a special rate for Northern Ireland could help boost inward investment and help its economy compete with its southern neighbour.

However, there are issues around what a rate reduction would cost and how it would be paid for, including fears that it could lead to a reduction in the block grant allocated to the executive from London.

Ms Foster said the data requested by the executive from the Treasury would not be available until the New Year, which "regrettably" made it unlikely that there will be a cut before the election in May.

"That does not mean that we will not be doing everything on our side to try and make it happen," Mrs Foster added.

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