Regional partners go to Westminster to unlock the Belfast Region City Deal

Belfast Region City Deal partners are forging ahead with their efforts to secure £1bn co-investment from the UK government, regional government, local government and the universities, which will be added to by the private sector.

Wednesday, 24th October 2018, 6:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th October 2018, 6:35 pm
Ald Allan Ewart (Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council), Cllr Paul Michael(Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council), Nigel Dodds MP, Cllr Richard Smart (Mayor of Ards and North Down Borough Council), Cllr Deirdre Hargey (Lord Mayor of Belfast City Council), Cllr Mark Murnin (Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council) and Cllr Lindsay Millar (Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.) Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

The objective is to create up to 20,000 new and better jobs and to deliver a 10 year programme of inclusive economic growth.

Following months of intensive preparations, Belfast Region City Deal partners, with the support of all the political parties here, submitted their ambitious negotiating position to the NI Secretary of State and Westminster at the end of September.

They are keeping up the momentum to negotiate the best deal possible for the region.

The deal focuses on accelerating inclusive economic growth in the industry areas where we’re experiencing most rapid growth and have the potential to become world leaders.

Its four key investment pillars are: digital and innovation, infrastructure, tourism led regeneration and employability and skills.

Commenting on the deal, Nigel Dodds MP said: “This is an exciting, once in a generation opportunity to deliver a real boost for the Belfast Region and the wider Northern Ireland economy. The Belfast Region City Deal could see £1 billion of investment across a number of key sectors and has the potential to leverage up to £4 billion of investment from the private sector.

“The Belfast Region has seen significant progress in recent years with record levels of foreign direct investment and thousands of new jobs created, but there remain a number of barriers to growth in Belfast and the surrounding area; namely low productivity, economic inactivity, skills gaps and a need to invest in an ageing infrastructure.

“This City Deal can help us to address these barriers, prepare for the future jobs markets and have a transformative impact on the lives of people living, working and visiting the Belfast Region.”

The six councils are working with Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, Further Education Colleges - and in close collaboration with the Northern Ireland Civil Service - to bring forward a range of ambitious projects for this programme of investment.

The partners anticipate that an announcement will be made in the Autumn Budget statement on Monday, October 29. This would give them the green light to work up implementation plans.