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Scheme that aims to ‘supercharge’ the economy is unveiled

The plans have been laid out in a new strategy.

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First Minster Arlene Foster (right) and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

First Minster Arlene Foster (right) and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

First Minster Arlene Foster (right) and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill (Liam McBurney/PA)

A scheme that aims to “supercharge” the economy in parts of Northern Ireland has been launched.

The plans have been laid out in a regional economic strategy which promises to transform the region in the Mid South West (MSW).

Developed as a collaboration between Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council and Mid Ulster District Council, the strategy is centred on boosting productivity.

The strategy, developed following research and analysis of the region’s economy and engagement with major employers in the region, identifies challenges and opportunities and sets out four pillars to guide investment.

The strategy will enable the Mid South West Region to leverage financial investment from a range of sources.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “By joining forces, the three councils within the Mid South West have developed a plan which will transform not just the region, but the wider economy.

“The Mid South West Regional Economic Strategy is aligned with the recovery plans of central government and is particularly relevant as the economy recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “As we set about rebuilding our economy, we know it needs to be fairer and more regionally balanced.

“It also has to be greener and more sustainable.

“The £252 million Growth Deal funding package that has been secured for the Mid South West is a fantastic and unique opportunity.

“This strategy will help to ensure the right initiatives are put in place to help the region reach its full potential and achieve prosperity for all the people of the area.”

Darragh Cullen, managing director of Edge Innovate, which hosted the launch event, said: “Along with a number of other major employers in the Mid South West I was involved in the business reference group which contributed to the development of the regional economic strategy.

“By addressing our challenges and putting in place the structures and interventions which will enable businesses to do what we do best, the strategy will allow us and other businesses in this region to excel.”

PA