Corporation tax reduction affordable but will require some cuts: Villiers

The Corporation Tax Bill gave the Assembly powers to cut the rate of the business tax
The Corporation Tax Bill gave the Assembly powers to cut the rate of the business tax

Slashing corporation tax to 12.5 per cent in April 2018 is a “deliverable and affordable goal” for the Executive, Theresa Villiers has said.

There were mixed messages from Sinn Fein representatives during the campaign as to whether the cut would definitely happen.

Sinn Fein’s loss of votes to the left-wing People Before Profit, which opposes what it characterises as a tax break for big business at the expense of public services, could make the party reconsider the measure.

Ms Villiers said that the Fresh Start Agreement, endorsed by the DUP and Sinn Fein, was clear that corporation tax should be cut to 12.5 per cent in April 2018 but that “ultimately it’s a matter for the Northern Ireland parties if they stick with that”.

She went on to say: “I certainly think that it’s deliverable. Yes, obviously it comes at a certain cost because of the way the rules work, but I would certainly say that it is affordable for the Executive.

“Certainly it may require a degree of efficiency measures and focusing on priorities, but it’s well within [what is possible].”