NI corporation tax decision on hold until 2014

The Northern Ireland first and deputy ministers met with David Cameron today to push for a decision on devolving power to vary corporation tax, and while they weren't told no, they were told a decision would not be made until Autumn of 2014.

In Northern Ireland the campaign to get power to lower corporation tax to match or beat that in the Republic of Ireland is one of the few policies to have across the board support. However it is not quite as popular in Westminster, with concerns over how such a move would affect Scotland, and the potential for businesses to move from England over to Northern Ireland to take advantage of any drop in the rate of corporation tax.

The Scotland question has essentially been the show-stopper, and David Cameron today told Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness that a decision on passing over power over corporation tax to Northern Ireland would have to wait until after the Scotland independence referendum.

The need to compete with the Republic of Ireland when it comes to attracting new business has been put at the top of the agenda over the past couple of years, and with today's announcement putting that on hold, Labour Shadow Secretary of State, Vernon Coaker, says Northern Ireland's economy is in need of "a Plan B".