Derry to receive £105m package from British government
Announcement made ahead of talks to restore devolved government at Stormont
Karen Bradley, the North’s Secretary of State, called the announcement a ‘major milestone’ and said the Inclusive Future Fund ‘recognises the unique circumstances facing the region’. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA
Derry is to receive £105 million from the British government to boost the city’s economic potential and tackle long-term deprivation.
The announcement was made ahead of a fresh round of cross-party talks which begin today to try and restore Northern Ireland’s devolved government at Stormont.
The North’s Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, said the announcement was a “major milestone” that would “help strengthen the foundations for greater prosperity and a stronger, more united society".
She said the Inclusive Future Fund “recognises the unique circumstances facing the region and will help create new opportunities for the whole of the community, especially for young people”.
In a statement, the president of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Brian McGrath, said any injection of funding was “good news” for the city and region.
“We now need to look at how we can build on this and how we can maximise the effects for city stakeholder so that everyone in the community sees the benefit of this investment,” he said.
The funding is made up of a City Deal for Derry and Strabane worth £50 million as well as a £55 million Inclusive Future Fund.
The City Deal funding will be used to enhance the northwest’s innovation and digital capabilities.
This will include developing a centre for industrial digitisation, robotics and automation, which will provide research and design facilities in robotics, automation and “internet of things” technologies.
It will also facilitate digital enabling infrastructure which will future-proof digital infrastructure by delivering next-generation connectivity along with “Smart City” investment to support premarket testing and validation of smart technologies.
The Inclusive Future Fund will enable investment in projects that could support local young people by providing jobs and skills opportunities and tackle the causes and consequences of long-term social deprivation.
It will also build on the economic potential of Ulster University’s Magee campus in Derry.
A City Deal is a package of funding and decision-making powers which is negotiated between the UK government and a city or region to help support economic growth, create jobs or invest in local projects.
A package worth £350 million was announced for the Belfast region earlier this year.