Northern Ireland gets first City Deal

5 Apr 19

A milestone has been reached in the creation of Northern Ireland’s first ‘City Deal’ which will result in investment of up to £1bn centred on Belfast.

Northern Ireland secretary Karen Bradley has approved the initiative and set out its terms in an agreement with partners from the Belfast Region economic area.

The ambitious project is aimed at growing the region’s business strengths in life and health sciences; ICT, digital and creative industries; and advanced manufacturing.

Bradley said: “The UK government has committed £350 million of funding to support and encourage economic development across the region, creating jobs and boosting prosperity.”

City deals are bespoke packages of funding and decision-making powers that have been negotiated since 2012 between central government and local bodies, and by 2018 a total of 33 deals had either been agreed or were planned.

Northern Ireland’s first City Deal will see the UK government invest £350m in the Belfast Region over the next 15 years.

This figure will be matched by the Northern Ireland Executive once the devolved institutions are restored, and further bolstered by co-investment of £150m from Belfast Region City Deal partners.

Further private sector involvement is anticipated to bring the total investment package to over £1bn.

Officials hope it will result in at least 22 projects that help to create up to 20,000 new jobs and have a positive impact on the most deprived communities.

Belfast’s Lord Mayor Councillor Deirdre Hargey said: “This is an investment which will improve quality of life for people living here and further enhance our attractiveness as a destination of choice for investors, visitors, new residents and students alike.”

Bradley added that she is in talks with the chancellor to secure a financial announcement for a Derry-Londonderry Region City Deal.

“The UK government is committed to developing a comprehensive and ambitious set of City Deals across Northern Ireland and delivering a stronger economy that works for everyone,” she said.

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