Devolution of corporate tax powers “a bargaining chip” in talks process – Bradley

December 8, 2014

SDLP finance spokesperson Dominic Bradley has accused Chancellor George Osborne of using the devolution of corporate tax powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly as a “bargaining chip” in the cross-party political talks process.

During his Autumn Statement to parliament last Wednesday, Mr Osborne said corporation tax could be devolved if politicians resolved their differences over the budget and welfare reform.

The Northern Ireland inter-party talks which resumed last Thursday are aimed at the five parties reaching agreement on a range of unresolved issues, including disputes over flags, parades, the legacy of the Troubles and welfare reform.

Sinn Féin and the SDLP have objected to many of the cost-cutting measures which have already been implemented in England and Wales, whilst Unionists argue that Northern Ireland must take difficult decisions to balance its budget.

Mr Bradley said that while he welcomed the Chancellor’s desire to bring forward appropriate legislation, devolution of corporation tax powers was “a separate issue and should be treated as such and not as a British Government bargaining chip in the talks process to bolster the DUP.”

“We expect the devolution of corporation tax powers will lead to significant increases in job creation and will help to rebalance the local economy. “However, the schedule for introducing the changes needs to be carefully thought-out in relation to the impact to public sector spending. We must ensure that we get the maximum benefit in every way and front-line services are not diminished in any way.

“This issue needs to be a win-win for us and not the Treasury. Just as the SDLP is fully engaged in the current talks process and want to see a positive and lasting solution to the issues involved, the SDLP will be fully engaged in the debate around the preparation for and introduction of these powers.”