Business groups urge parties to find a way to work for growth

Politicians have been urged to work together to produce a viable economic programme
Politicians have been urged to work together to produce a viable economic programme

Northern Ireland’s politicians have a duty to establish a functioning Executive “as quickly as possible” if they truly aspire to bring jobs and prosperity t0 the people of the province.

As negotiations continue in the wake of the election, business group Grow NI said progress must be made swiftly to secure control of corporation tax and help underpin growth.

Welcoming confirmation that the Treasury is continuing to prepare the groundwork for the devolution of powers in order to reduce the tax to the planned 12.5%, Grow NI - an umbrella group comprising the major business organisations - said it was urging the parties to work towards a vital opportunity.

“The business community has reasserted its ongoing support for devolution and GROW NI is urging local parties to come together to establish a settled Executive as quickly as possible,” said Grow NI spokesman Mervyn McCall.

“Opportunities still exist to secure a shared prosperity for all of the people in Northern Ireland but that requires policy interventions from the Executive.

“We believe, and the evidence shows, that a reduced corporation tax remains the most viable and far reaching economic tool we have.

“Over the last couple of years the message from Invest NI and our political leaders has been that we have a date, April 1, 2018, for a new rate.

“Failure to deliver a lower rate of corporation tax will cause significant loss of confidence in the economic package that Northern Ireland has offered to these multinational investors. That outcome must be avoided.”

The sole purpose of a lower rate for the province, he said, was to create jobs which are long term, value adding and well paid, with evidence to support the view that it could create “tens of thousands of jobs over a twenty year time frame”.

As well as attract additional investment into Northern Ireland by new foreign owned companies, he said it would also encourage existing foreign and local firms to expand and make additional investment.

“That is the prize and we urge our political leaders to focus on the potential of the opportunity which we face,” Mr McCall said.

“There is a political responsibility now on those parties that were elected last week to move swiftly in a spirit of co-operation and collective will, to return to Stormont and urgently move ahead with a social and economic policy programme that will deliver prosperity for all of our citizens.

“The member organisations of GROWNI will continue to work with and support the parties with this objective.”