Sir David Varney said that introducing a different corporation tax rate for Northern Ireland would not build a strong investment strategy in the province.

In a report published today he said that the political progress during the last 10 years to transform Northern Ireland to a peaceful society had attracted inward private sector investment while the restoration of devolution in May was a ‘major turning point and incentive for such further inward investment’.

He said: ‘I have reviewed all the evidence carefully and visited both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. While there is not a clear and unambiguous case for changing corporation tax in Northern Ireland beyond the UK-wide measures announced in the 2007 Budget, I am convinced that, in the light of the successful peace process, Northern Ireland can potentially emulate the economic success of the Republic.’

In March this year the chancellor asked Varney to undertake a review looking at how tax policy could support further growth in Northern Ireland.