NI Corporation tax rate cut for SMEs only

A proposal limiting any reduced rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland to small to medium sized businesses only has been published by the Ulster Unionist Party. The document proposes that "large and stable companies" such as banks and utility companies would not benefit from any reduced rate and would continue to pay at the current 28%.

The paper reiterates previous calls for Stormont to have the power to alter corporation tax levels as it sees fit, as momentum increasingly gathers around calls for a rate cut to rival the 12.5% applied in the Republic of Ireland. The low tax rate is widely regarded as the single most important factor in creating the economy boom in the South in previous years.

Those who oppose any cut to Northern Ireland's tax rate largely point to the cost, which would have to be met out of recently diminished Executive funds. That concern has led to the UUP's suggestion of only applying the rate cut to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) saying it "would greatly reduce the burden on the Executive and target those businesses most in need".

The paper also discusses other austerity measures, including 2-year pay freezes for public sector workers earning £26,000 and above, the privatisation of MOT tests and the Forest service, and car park charges for civil servants. On the matter of domestic water charges, the document only goes so far as to call for a "debate" on the matter.

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