Businesses petition Varney over tax cut

A petition has been signed by 50 top businesspeople, demanding that Sir David Varney makes a recommendation to cut corporation tax in Northern Ireland.

Sir Anthony O'Reilly, chief executive officer of Independent News & Media, Lord Eames, the former Archbishop of Armagh, and Michael O'Leary, Ryanair's chief, are among the most senior figures to sign the petition.

The campaign has also received support from the Republic of Ireland, with former heads of the Industrial Development Agency, Dr Padraic White and Kieran McGowan, also having added their signatures, according to the Belfast Telegraph.

In the letter, which will be sent to Sir David, the petitioners claim that cutting corporation tax from 30 per cent to 12.5 per cent is vital to kickstart the economy in Northern Ireland.

Additionally it emphasises the fact that bringing the corporation tax rate down to the level of the Republic would mean that the power-sharing Executive in Northern Ireland could develop a sustainable local economy.

Sir George Quigley, the chairman of the Industrial Task Force, which has been leading the campaign for tax cuts for businesses said: "Developing a strong private sector means attracting a much larger flow of global investment which yields quality-based growth.

"The message coming through loud and clear from the 50 signatories is that this will simply not happen - just as it would never have happened in the Republic - unless we are competitive on tax.

"I doubt if Northern Ireland will ever again have so much support on all sides for engineering such a radical - but essential - shift in our economic position."

Meanwhile business bosses should check with their solicitors if they are unaware of whether they are liable for corporation tax.

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