Whether you’re a business or a community and voluntary organisation, there’s millions of reasons why you need to be thinking about the Northern Ireland City Deals over the next year.
The first Northern Ireland City Deal, worth up to £1 billion was announced in Spring 2019 by the then Secretary of State, Karen Bradley MP. The Government also mentioned the possibility of a second City Deal for the Derry/Londonderry and North West Region. But what does this mean for local businesses and communities?
What do we know about City Deals?
The Belfast Regional City Deal (BRCD) is one of 33 deals that have been agreed or are planned. The BRCD will result in investment of up to £1 billion which will be centred on and around the Belfast area.
The investment is comprised of:
- A committed £350m funding from the UK Government to encourage economic development over the next 15 years
- £350m matched funding from NI Executive (once devolution is restored)
- Additional £150m co-investment via BRCD partners
The BRCD is a collaboration, comprising the six councils of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Ards and North Down Borough Council, Belfast City Council, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, working in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, the Further Education colleges across the Belfast Region and the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
The investment will allow the partners to accelerate inclusive economic growth for the whole region with the aim of delivering at least 22 projects and creating up to 20,000 new and better jobs which will have a positive impact on the most deprived communities including improving the quality of life for local people. This will be accomplished under four pillars of work:
- Innovation and Digital
- Tourism and Regeneration
- Employability and Skills
What’s happening next?
Since signing the Head of Terms in April 2019, the BRCD have entered a new phase which will take 12 -18 months and will involve developing business cases for each of the City Deal Projects. So, now’s the time for organisations to look at how they can engage with key stakeholders and possibly partners to help deliver the type of City Deal that can transform the local economy and deliver on the vision and outcomes identified within the Programme for Government.
Whether you’re a private sector or community and voluntary sector organisation, there’s an opportunity to get involved and drive inclusive growth.