Councils welcome Prime Minister’s commitment to Belfast City Deal
The six Belfast City region partner councils have welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May’s commitment to progressing City Deals in Northern Ireland.
Speaking yesterday in the House of Commons, the PM said the Northern Ireland Secretary is committed to “working positively with partners in the UK government, the Belfast city region and the Northern Ireland civil service” to progress City Deals here.
She conceded, however, that the lack of an Executive at Stormont is creating “issues” that need to be worked through.
As part of the confidence and supply deal struck between the Conservatives and the DUP, which effectively means the Democratic Unionists are keeping the Tories in power, Theresa May pledged to support a city deal for Belfast.
A city deal would see special powers devolved to councils and exemptions made to allow for the promotion of business, providing a welcome boost for the local economy.
In a statement, the six Belfast City region partner councils - Antrim and Newtownabbey, Ards and North Down, Belfast City, Lisburn and Castlereagh, Mid and East Antrim, and Newry, Mourne and Down - welcomed Mrs May’s assurances.
“A City Deal for the Belfast region would result in a 10 year investment plan to improve infrastructure, digital connectivity, tourism assets and innovation hubs as well as delivering a major skills programme,” they said.
“The aim of the deal is ultimately to create more and better jobs across all of our growth sectors, pushing the ‘fast-forward’ button on economic growth here and ensuring that those opportunities are accessible across all of our communities.
“The partner councils are working closely with businesses, universities, the civil service departments and further education sectors and locally elected representatives across all parties with a commitment to securing the best deal possible which will deliver significant benefits not only for the region, but for the whole economy of Northern Ireland.”
The partner councils said they are working on projects to present to Westminster in the autumn and they are aware that Derry City and Strabane is also working on a similar deal, which they are “very supportive” of.
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