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Rebalancing the Northern Ireland Economy

Volume 525: debated on Thursday 24 March 2011

The Treasury has today published a consultation paper on rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy.

The paper, which meets a coalition programme for Government commitment, has been produced in consultation with the Northern Ireland Office and the Northern Ireland Executive (NIE). It reflects the joint commitment towards meeting the economic challenges Northern Ireland faces, in particular; increasing the size of the private sector while reducing dependency on the public sector, improving productivity, raising growth and increasing employment.

The Government have developed a range of UK-wide policies to rebalance the economy which will benefit Northern Ireland. The 2011 Budget announces new measures, including the Government’s enterprise zone policy and its plan for growth. The paper draws on these policies and describes devolved policies for rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy, bearing in mind that many of the key economic policy levers are already devolved.

The paper also discusses the option of devolving the power to vary the rate of corporation tax to the Northern Ireland Executive, given the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland, including its large public sector, the economic legacy of the troubles and the land border with Ireland. This includes discussion of:

The benefits and costs of devolving corporation tax varying powers to the Northern Ireland Executive;

Implementation issues;

Other possible tax options.

The consultation will conclude in June 2011. The Government, in consultation with the Northern Ireland Executive, will make decisions in light of the responses received.

Copies of the paper are being placed in the Libraries of both Houses and are available via the Treasury website.