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Shadow chancellor warns on corporation tax hopes

Ed Balls sang the praises of Newry’s visionary business leaders when he visited the city during the final part of his two-day charm offensive in the north. However the Shadow Chancellor also warned that there were grim times ahead if the executive continued to put all its eggs in the corporation tax basket. Speaking at a function marking Newry Chamber of Commerce’s 120th anniversary he reiterated his party’s support of the devolution of tax setting powers to Stormont. He said too much store was being placed on this one element of economic salvation when other more easily implemented measures such as lowering VAT or national insurance should be considered by the Tories. Mr Balls has stayed largely on message over the course of his visit to the north which has created immense interest among political parties. He shared the top table at the Canal Court Hotel yesterday with senior ministers from the DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP and Allliance as well as representatives from the North-South Ministerial Council. He singled out Newry businesses First Derivatives, Norbrook Laboratories, MJM Marine and Glen Dimplex as shining examples of how the city had clawed its way up from a regional back water to one of the most forward thinking and dynamic cities on the island. “Newry is one of the success stories of the peace process and a decade on being awarded city status it has placed itself at the centre of the economic corridor between Belfast and Dublin,” Mr Balls said. “Its enviable location as a hub of cross border economic development has transformed the entire region and the innovation will encourage further accolades to go alongside Newry’s status as a Fair Trade City, one of the first in the UK and Ireland.” Mr Balls who later travelled to Dublin was welcomed to Newry by the chamber’s president Cathal Austin who described him as “one of the most important and influential political figures in the UK.”


12th October 2012

Irish News