£1 billion Belfast Region City Deal officially signed

£1 billion Belfast Region City Deal officially signed

THE £1 billion Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) was officially today signed by UK and NI Executive Members, in what has been described as a "transformative co-investment" which will deliver on projects, programmes and jobs.

The deal is set to strengthen the region's offer in growth sectors such as life and health sciences, digital and creative industries and advanced manufacturing.

It will also support "next generation digital capabilities, boost tourism by creating world-class visitor experiences and enable regeneration", and create an estimated 20,000 jobs.

The partners involved in the deal have been working since 2017 with the NI Executive, UK government and industry partners to develop it and prepare the case for investment, and Heads of Terms were signed in March 2019.

The deal includes £350 million in funding from Stormont and £350m from Westminster. BRCD partners will contribute a further £150 million, with the remainder to be made up by leveraging additional private sector investment.

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis said:

"The Belfast region is vibrant and exciting, bursting with potential. Today, with the signing of the Full Deal Agreement, we have reached a major milestone, unlocking £350 million of UK Government capital investment in digital and innovation projects. This funding will be matched by the Northern Ireland Executive."

He said the funding "represents a significant opportunity for us to turbocharge the industries of tomorrow."

Speaking on behalf of the Belfast Region City Deal partners, Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Kate Nicholl said:

"This is a momentous day for the Belfast region. Thanks to cross-party political support, private sector backing and unprecedented levels of collaboration from all of the Belfast region partners, we’ve succeeded in securing this significant, long term commitment to transforming the NI economy in the sectors where we have the potential to become world leaders.

"The Deal comes at a critical time, as we work to help local businesses and communities recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. A decade of opportunity starts now."

Tweeting about the deal, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said "Northern Ireland is at the heart of our plans to level up across the whole of the United Kingdom."

"Our £350 million boost to the Belfast City Deal will turbocharge digital infrastructure, skills and jobs in a city that has a proud history of innovation and creativity."