Posted on Thursday 21 May 2015 by Ulster Business

Bell corporation tax green light will lead to thousands of jobs

DETI minister Jonathan Bell being interviewed by David Elliott, editor of Ulster Business

Overseas companies are poised to create thousands of jobs once the devolution of corporation-tax setting powers are set in stone, the new Enterprise minister has said.

Jonathan Bell said investors need to be given a definite date when the corporation tax rate in Northern Ireland will be cut and what rate it will be cut to.

“As business minister I’m going to be pushing very hard for a date and a rate,” he told Ulster Business in his new Netherleigh office near Stormont. “There are significant and serious players ready to create thousands of jobs which are sitting watching us.

“There’s going to be a lot of pressure on us but I don’t see failure as an option.”

The minister’s comments echo those of Invest NI chief executive Alastair Hamilton who reiterated the urgent need for a “date and a rate” earlier this week.

While the law allowing the devolution of corporation tax-setting powers has already been passed, the Executive needs to reach agreement on welfare reform before the Treasury will hand the tax power over to Stormont.

“We need a rate and a date and we need it very quickly,” Mr Hamilton said. “There are a lot of companies here who could expand and there are other brand new opportunities.”

He was speaking at the announcement of a record year for Invest NI which saw 9,410 jobs created during the 2014/2015 financial year, a 40% increase on the previous year.

There were also 25 new investors to Northern Ireland, and a reduction in corporation tax could draw more.

“We’ve got within our grasp a very unique opportunity with corporation tax to do something which has never been done before,” Mr Bell said. “This is a game changer.”

For more on Mr Bell’s interview, read the June edition of Ulster Business

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