£700m infrastructure boost for city deals and Inclusive Future fund

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image captionDerry City and Strabane District Council area will receive £210m

An extra £700m of new funding has been announced for infrastructure, regeneration, and tourism projects

The executive is to match fund £562m for city and growth deals across Northern Ireland and £55m for the Inclusive Future Fund.

It is also to provide up to an extra £100m for complementary projects.

"This is significant and it is a very positive announcement for the whole of Northern Ireland," First Minister Arlene Foster said.

She said the funding would "allow a range of proposals to proceed in the north west that have been worked up subject of course to business case approvals".

The match funding for the city and growth deals goes along with UK Government funding announced in May 2019 and brings the total investment to £1.2bn.

What is a city deal?

City deal status gives local areas specific powers to help support economic growth and job creation.

It is an agreement between government and a city. It gives the city and its surrounding area certain powers and freedom to:

  • Take charge and responsibility of decisions that affect their area
  • Do what they think is best to help businesses grow
  • Create economic growth
  • Decide how public money should be spent

The package provides at least £700m for the Belfast region (including Antrim and Newtownabbey, Ards and North Down, Lisburn and Castlereagh, Mid and East Antrim and Newry, Mourne and Down council areas), £252m for the mid, south and west, £210m for Derry City and Strabane and £72m for Causeway Coast and Glens.

Finance Minister Conor Murphy said despite the ongoing coroanvirus pandemic, the executive needed to plan for the long term.

He said: "This investment of more than £700m provide investment in local areas and much needed jobs and offers hope for the future."

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image captionThe funding has been welcomed by Retail NI

Glyn Roberts of Retail NI said the funding "is a very welcome announcement which makes a significant step towards a post Covid-19 economic recovery plan for our local economy".

He added: "Any recovery plan for Northern Ireland must be regionally balanced ensuring that investment in infrastructure of our rural towns and villages is a priority alongside the regeneration of Belfast and Derry."

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