Varney rules out corporation tax cut for Northern Ireland

It’s the one policy almost every major party in Ireland is agreed on, including those that won the recent general election in the south, and the assembly elections in the north, but that it seems is not a consideration for the British Treasury.

Plans by Northern Ireland’s new power-sharing executive to stimulate foreign
investment by cutting corporation tax have been dashed.

In meetings with local politicians and business leaders last week Sir David
Varney, a former head of the UK Inland Revenue appointed by Gordon Brown to
consider changes in the province’s tax policy, poured cold water on the

Demands that business tax rates be dropped to 12.5 per cent to allow the
province to compete with the Irish Republic would encourage transfer pricing, he

Transfer pricing is the practice whereby profits of UK-based foreign
multinationals are channelled through a Northern Ireland office without actually
bringing any additional economic activity to the province.

Sir David, who was accompanied by three officials from the UK Treasury,
"absolutely dismissed the idea", said one of those present at the meeting. "He
discussed a very wide agenda, but it was clear corporation tax was not part of
that agenda at all." (Financial Times)

This, of course, is what almost every observer expected. One result may be to make the Stormont Executive look more favorably on Alex Salmond’s requests for co-operation.







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