Northern Ireland

Sammy Wilson - 'cutting corporation tax could cost £500m'

The Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has said estimates from his department suggested the cost to the Northern Ireland budget of cutting corporation tax could be as high as £500m.

Mr Wilson acknowledged that other estimates had been lower, in the range of £200 to £300m.

The government is currently preparing a review examining the case for cutting corporation tax to match the lower rate in the Irish Republic.

The Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, told BBC's Inside Politics on Sunday that there was great enthusiasm amongst potential investors in the United States for cutting the rate.

A previous treasury review, conducted by Sir David Varney, did not support the idea.

Under what is known as "the Azores ruling" any competitive advantage Northern Ireland might accrue from a lower tax rate would have to be matched by a compensating cut in the block grant.