Corporation tax decision 'deeply disappointing'
The NI Independent Retail Trade Association (NIRTA) has said the government's delay on a decision to devolve corporation tax to Stormont was deeply disappointing.
On Tuesday, the prime minister said there would be no decision on devolving the powers until after the Scottish referendum in 2014.
Stormont wants to be able to match the tax rate in the Republic of Ireland.
Glyn Roberts of NIRTA said the decision sent out the wrong message.
"It will be deeply disappointing to Northern Ireland's business community that the decision on corporation tax has been effectively binned by Downing Street," he said.
"Setting our own local corporation tax rate was the settled view of all the main business organisations and the five main political parties.
"It is to be regretted that the prime minister ignored that united view."
On Tuesday, Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers met the prime minister over devolving the power to set the rate of the tax.
The policy has all-party support at the Northern Ireland Executive and the backing of the secretary of state.
The deputy first minister, Martin McGuinness, said he was "disappointed" with the decision.
First Minister Peter Robinson vowed not to give up on the fight for the power.
The executive would have to compensate the Treasury for any tax reduction by handing back a portion of its annual budget.
However, supporters believe the economic boost to Northern Ireland from inward investment would outweigh the cost to the public purse.
Northern Ireland Secretary of State Teresa Villiers said the issue of of corporation tax was "still a very live issue, still very much on the table".
"Whatever the answer on corporation tax, whether it's a yes, or whether it's ultimately not to go ahead, there are lots of other programmes that need to be pursued to boost the Northern Ireland economy," she said.