Northern Ireland is not going to have a separate corporation tax rate

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I welcome the news from Conor Murphy, who is Northern Ireland’s new finance minister, that he has no plans to cut the corporation tax rate there, at least as yet. As the BBC has reported:

Mr Murphy said a change in economic and political circumstances means the issue has now "receded".

Speaking on BBCNI's Good Morning Ulster, he expressed concern about what cutting the tax would mean for public services in Northern Ireland.

A cut in the tax would mean less revenue is collected for the Treasury.

Under state aid rules, the Northern Ireland executive would have to make up the shortfall through a cut in its block grant from Westminster.

He is right. But all of this has been known for a long time. I campaigned on this issue, and broadcast on it a great many times in Northern Ireland over the period 2010 to 2015, tirelessly pointing out how harmful it would be. Time and again I came up against opposition, fuelled in the main by KPMG Belfast it seemed to me, which sought to align the corporation tax rates north and south of the Irish border, without those seeking to do so seemingly having any understanding that this did not create a level playing field in tax, or help Norther Ireland at all.

I am pleased to see that common sense has prevailed. I hope it continues to do so.