Cut tax says NI construction firm

Published:  24 May, 2012

BELFAST: Northstone, construction material supplier and contractor and part of part of CRH, is calling for reduced corporation tax in the region.

Reduced company taxation would “create a huge incentive for firms like us which are part of a global company” it said.

“We are part of a global company, CRH, but as Northstone we have a turnover of £285m, operating in Northern Ireland in the construction industry.

“We are in unprecedently difficult economic times, yet we see opportunities for growth by moving into new market areas.

“But we are an economy with 24% corporation tax adjacent to a country which has a rate of 12.5%. So development here has to compete with the south, which is a big problem for us.

“We also have to compete for funds with other countries, from America right across to China. Of all the countries in which CRH operates, the UK is one of the higher corporation tax areas.

“We may have much lower wages and costs of doing business but that's all balanced out by our higher corporation tax.

“But with low corporation tax comes the opportunity to build factories that will manufacture things. It would be a shot in the arm for us to justify more development for Northern Ireland.”

A decision on devolution of corporation tax powers to Northern Ireland will be made within the next few months. The Secretary of State, Owen Patterson, made the announcement at Stormont yesterday morning. A joint Westminster-Stormont working group has been meeting since November to examine how the tax could be devolved.

The working group, made up of ministers and officials from the Treasury, Northern Ireland Office and the executive, will hold its last meeting on 25 June. The Westminster government must then take a decision. The secretary of state said he would like to get that decision "over the summer".

He said officials were dealing with the detail of how devolution of the tax could work: "The working group has been meeting on a regular basis but more importantly there have been intensive talks at an official level with these meetings going on for several hours."

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