We Will Get Tax Powers Says New CBI Boss

The new regional head of business body the CBI believes corporation tax-setting powers will be devolved to Stormont during his two-year tenure.

“We haven’t let up on our campaign and genuinely believe it will happen reasonably soon after the Scottish independence vote this autumn,” Colin Walsh said yesterday.

Mr Walsh, chief executive of Belfast-based venture capital providers Crescent Capital, whose 40-year career spans both the public and private sectors, has succeeded Ian Coulter to become CBI Northern Ireland’s 26th chairman. He has set out five key business themes in a blueprint which he aims to progress over the next 12 months, and he said he was “extremely confident” Treasury will deliver.

“We’ve been forced to put our campaign on hold due to the Scotland vote. We won’t tolerate being fobbed off again,” he said.

Walsh’s key themes this year are: * winning the public’s trust in business and demonstrating the positive value of business to society as a whole, deepening engagement with politicians; * boosting businesses’ capacity to grow and compete – doing everything to ensure a positive decision on corporation tax in the final quarter while ensuring executive’s policies on access to finance and innovation are effective; * getting Northern Ireland building – delivering on the recommendations in CBI’s infrastructure report, ensuring the planning system is fit for purpose, and creating more competitive energy prices, including progress on a second north/south interconnector; * ensuring growth makes a difference to everyone – raising ambition and standards in schools, improving business/education links and improving skills together with securing the necessary reforms to employement legislation; * delivering better and more efficient public services.

“We enter 2014 with a more positive and optimistic outlook, yet much remains to be done to achieve a more sustainable and balanced economy which can benefit everyone,” he said.

“The role of business has never been more important, and I look forward to working with members to create an even better business environment to help create jobs and prosperity for all.”

CBI Northern Ireland director Nigel Smyth, welcoming Colin as new chairman, said: “Our future prosperity and jobs depend on a growing private sector.

“Colin’s breadth of business knowledge and experience across a range of sectors gives him the necessary insights to represent the interests of our members and provide the necessary leadership over the coming two years.”

Source: irishnews.com