George Osborne announces plans to cut UK corporation tax to less than 15%

The Taoiseach is to meet with the North's First Minister today for the first time since the Brexit vote

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File photo of British Chancellor George Osborne | Image: Ben Birchall / PA Wire/Press Association Images

British Chancellor George Osborne is planning to cut corporation tax to less than 15% in an attempt to offset the shock to investors of the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

He said Britain must show the world it is "still open for business" as he outlined plans to build a "super competitive economy" with low business taxes and a global focus.

Cutting more than 5% off the current rate would see Britain close in on the Irish 12.5% levy and make the country one of the most competitive global economies.

Mr Osborne told the Financial Times: "We must focus on the horizon and the journey ahead and make the most of the hand we've been dealt."

He said Britain faced a "very challenging time" and urged the Bank of England to use its powers to avoid "a contraction of credit in the economy".

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, welcomed the move, but urged the Chancellor to act quickly.

"The Chancellor is absolutely right to be considering a big cut to corporation tax, as it would show that the UK is ready to seize new opportunities in the global economy," he said.

"But Mr Osborne must be bold and cut the rate to 10% as soon as possible to really demonstrate that we are open for business, with competitive conditions to match our talented workforce.

"It's crucial that our politicians have a positive vision for British taxpayers outside the EU, and meaningful tax cuts to boost growth and prosperity are an excellent first step."

Last week, Mr Osborne said he would no longer target a budget surplus in 2020 because of the expected hit to the economy from the referendum result.

The signs from Mr Osborne of a softer approach to fixing the public finances and tax cuts to woo investors come after Bank of England Governor Mark Carney said that he believed the economy would need more monetary stimulus soon.

Mr Osborne said he also wants to focus on generating investment from China as well as ensuring support for bank lending, maintaining the UK's fiscal credibility to shore up the economy following the Brexit vote.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach says he is developing the concept of an all-island forum following the decision by the UK.

Enda Kenny will discuss the idea with the North's First Minister, Arlene Foster, at the North South Ministerial Council in Dublin castle today/

It is the first time the two leaders will talk face-to-face in the wake of the Brexit result.