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The St Patrick's Barracks site in Ballymena
The St Patrick's Barracks site in Ballymena

Press release -

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland approves first City Deal for Northern Ireland

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, has today signed the Heads of Terms for the Belfast City Deal, alongside the Belfast Region City Deal partners and the Northern Ireland Civil Service.

This is a major milestone towards the completion of the first City Deal for Northern Ireland.

The Belfast Region City Deal will see the UK Government invest £350 million into the Belfast Region over the next 15 years.

It is proposed that this figure will be matched by the Northern Ireland 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 £1 billion.

The Secretary of State said: “I am absolutely delighted to sign the heads of terms for the Belfast City Deal today.

“The UK Government has committed £350 million of funding to support and encourage economic development across the region, creating jobs and boosting prosperity.

“I am 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 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.”

It is hoped the deal will see the delivery of more than 20 projects to help create up to 20,000 new and better jobs alongside an increase in productivity levels, as well as having a positive impact on the most deprived communities, delivering a balanced spread of benefits across the region.

Communities Secretary, Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, said: “This is tremendous news for the communities and businesses living and operating in the Belfast City region.

“This transformative deal will bolster innovation, productivity and prosperity across the region, and I am delighted to see the hard work which has gone into this deal come to fruition.”

Chief Executive of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Anne Donaghy, said: “I am delighted the Heads of Terms for the Belfast Region City Deal have been finalised as we move forward with this once-in-a-generation opportunity.

"The significant economic benefits for our area include plans for around £80m of investment in Mid and East Antrim, including the St Patrick's Barracks site in Ballymena, The Gobbins and Carrickfergus.

“Together with the backing of our elected representatives – who have demonstrated unwavering support to our focus on economic growth – we have introduced and delivered a number of initiatives which have the potential to transform the economy in this borough - an area that has suffered the biggest loss of jobs in Northern Ireland in recent years.

“The Belfast Region City Deal is part of the solution to replace those jobs and is vital to our ambitious vision and blueprint for a vibrant economy in Mid and East Antrim, and Northern Ireland.”

Belfast Region City Deal will 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 entire region, underpinned by infrastructure developments and investment in skills to connect people to jobs and services.

For more information on the proposed programme of investment, go to www.belfastcity.gov.uk/belfastregioncitydeal and follow #BRcitydeal on Twitter.

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Chris Kilpatrick

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