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Think tank want cut in Northern Ireland business tax.

16 February 10 11:44 GMT

Reducing corporation tax is the only policy change that can quickly lift Northern Ireland out of its current economic rut, a think tank has said.

The Economic Reform Group's first report said the Westminster subsidy for NI was the equivalent of £5,000 for every person in the country.

Northern Ireland has suffered the largest percentage loss of jobs of any UK region in the recession.

The group said lowering the tax would help attract foreign investment.

They also said that it would help decrease Northern Ireland's dependence on Westminster.

In 2007, the Treasury rejected a request from all the main assembly parties for a reduced rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland.

The Economic Reform Group is comprised of independent economists, accountants and business leaders.

It was set up with the intention of exploring ways of improving Northern Ireland's economic future and reducing its dependence on financial support from Great Britain.

Members of the group, including Sir George Quigley, chairman of Bombardier-Shorts, have previously been involved in lobbying the chancellor in an attempt to get this change.

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Paterson said the group made "a very coherent case for a reduced rate of corporation tax in Northern Ireland".

"The Conservative Party has been saying for some time that a radical, long-term strategy is required to end Northern Ireland's dependence on the public sector and to boost private sector investment," he added.

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