Belfast investment deal is signed off

UK governemnt to invest £350m over next 15 years

Karen Bradley, UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

Karen Bradley, UK Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.

 

The North’s Secretary of State has signed off on a Belfast Region City Deal which could deliver an investment boost worth more than £1 billion to the Northern Ireland economy and help to create 20,000 additional jobs.

The new city deal will see the UK government invest £350 million into a “Belfast region” over the next 15 years.

The region covers six councils in the North stretching across Belfast, Antrim, Ards, Lisburn and Newry and also includes Queen’s University, Ulster University and the Belfast Metropolitan College.

The British Government first introduced city deals in the UK, which are bespoke packages of funding and decision-making powers negotiated with local authorities, in 2012.

The Belfast Region City Deal (BCRD) is the first deal to be signed off in the North. The six BRCD partner councils have also agreed to co-invest £100 million while Queen’s University and Ulster University have also committed to investing £50 million in the city deal initiative.

Karen Bradley formally signed the heads of terms for the Belfast city deal, alongside the BCRD partners and the Northern Ireland Civil Service on Tuesday.

According to the Northern Ireland Office once the “devolved institutions are restored” the Northern Ireland Executive will also match the £350 million that the UK Government has committed to the Belfast city deal.

The BCRD partners believe that the initiative will attract private sector investment which will in turn boost the overall economic investment to more than £1 billion in the North.

They have already identified four key areas for investment; infrastructure, tourism and regeneration, innovation and digital and employability and skills.

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

“I am also engaging closely with the Chancellor to secure a financial announcement for the Derry-Londonderry Region City Deal and help unlock the huge potential that Derry-Londonderry has to offer. 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.”