Region deals could earn cities millions
The north is losing out on millions of pounds from city region deals, which have been awarded to cities in England, namely Glasgow and to Cardiff. The question is, why has the north not got a city deal?
Mark Durkan and the SDLP have been championing the concept of a city region deal for Derry and Belfast for the last few years. The time has come to deliver a city region deal now. It would give greater powers and resources to city regions to stimulate and support economic growth and promote job-creation.
Already 29 cities in the UK have got city deals. In 2014, Glasgow - the first city in a devolved region - negotiated a £1.13bn deal. In March 2016, Cardiff negotiated a £1.2bn investment.
It is important to note that the contributions from the Treasury for Glasgow and Cardiff - £500m and £580m respectively - have been outside the Barnett formula.
The transformative impact of city deals has been fully recognised, yet, regrettably, in the previous Assembly, we were informed that "neither ministers nor officials in the Executive Office had discussions with Treasury" on the matter of a city deal. This is a disgraceful situation.
A city region deal for Derry and Belfast is a no-brainer. Belfast City Council and other key stakeholders are ready to enter into discussions with HM Treasury/Cabinet Office to secure an ambitious and game-changing city deal.
CLLR TIM ATTWOOD (SDLP)
Belfast City Council