20,000 jobs in the pipeline as Bradley signs off on Belfast City Deal
Secretary of State Karen Bradley's go-ahead for a £350m City Deal to rejuvenate Belfast has been welcomed.
Mrs Bradley also said she was continuing to work on a deal for Londonderry.
She signed the Heads of Terms for the deal alongside the Belfast City Regional Deal partners and the Civil Service yesterday.
It will see the Government invest £350m into Belfast over the next 15 years.
It is proposed that this figure will be matched by the Executive once the devolved institutions are restored.
The City Deal will be further bolstered by co-investment of upwards of £150m from Belfast Region City Deal partners, and investment by the private sector is anticipated to bring the total investment package to over £1bn.
It is hoped the deal will see the delivery of more than 20 projects to help create up to 20,000 new jobs.
DUP MP Nigel Dodds welcomed the announcement.
"The confidence-and-supply agreement ensured the Government's commitment towards delivering City Deals in Northern Ireland," he said. "This City Deal will make a real difference to people right across the six council areas which have worked together on the proposal.
"This can be a transformative package, with the potential to create up to 20,000 jobs. That has always been our approach through the confidence-and-supply process, to deliver for everyone in Northern Ireland.
"We will continue working to secure more City Deals for every part of Northern Ireland."
Ulster Unionist MLA Andy Allen said: "This is great news for Belfast and indeed for Northern Ireland as a whole.
"This level of investment will be a major boost to economic development and create much-needed jobs. I congratulate all those who have worked so hard to bring this to fruition."
SDLP MLA Nichola Mallon said: "This City Deal will go a long way to creating jobs and changing our region's economic fortunes."
She said the party will continue to push for a City Deal for Londonderry to ensure communities in the north west are treated fairly.
"Northern Ireland can only truly prosper if all parts of it are enabled to prosper," she added.
The programme is intended to help grow the region's business strengths in life and health sciences, ICT, digital and creative industries and advanced manufacturing.
It will also support digital development and tourism-led regeneration across the region, through infrastructure developments and investment in skills to connect people to jobs and services.
Mrs Bradley said she was delighted to get the deal over the line.
"I'm 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 Secretary of State said.
"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."
Belfast Lord Mayor Deidre Hargey said the signing of the deal marked a "significant milestone in our journey towards substantial investment in inclusive regional regeneration".
"It's testament to the power of collaboration and partnership and we look forward to progressing plans with our wide range of partners, including our colleagues working to deliver a programme of investment for Derry-Londonderry and the north west region," the Sinn Fein councillor said.