Development & Alumni Relations Office 



QUEEN’S AND BUSINESS SECTOR WELCOME CITY DEAL ANNOUNCEMENT

31 October 2018

Queen’s University Belfast, along with Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) partners, have welcomed news of £350m investment from Treasury announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in the Autumn Budget (29 October).

As part of the deal, the Northern Ireland Executive is expected to add a further £350m.

It is hoped the BRCD will create up to 20,000 new and better jobs alongside delivering a 10 year programme of inclusive economic growth – including an increase of £470m Gross Value Added (GVA).

The announcement forms part of a £850m co-investment package for the city region. Queen’s and Ulster University have committed £50m to the project and the six Belfast Region City Deal partner councils 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, Newry and Down District Council have committed £100m investment.

It is also anticipated that direct investment from the private sector will take the overall package for inclusive growth to well over £1 billion.

Through an unprecedented collaborative approach, Queen’s and UU are developing integrated projects in key sectors such as Digital, Creative Industries, and Advanced Manufacturing and Health, to invigorate the economy as part of the Belfast Region City Deal.

Regional further education colleges Belfast Met, Northern Regional College, South Eastern Regional College and the Southern Regional College are to oversee a complementary education, employability and skills programme to ensure that people gain the necessary skills to secure and deliver on the new and better paid jobs that will be created.

The opportunities presented through the City Deal recognise the crucial role universities play as economic engines. As well as the innovation projects, both institutions will work closely with the Further Education Colleges to support employability and embed skills.

It is anticipated that once the programme is finalised, a Heads of Terms document will be signed by the Secretary of State and Belfast Region City Deal partners (BRCD) in the next few weeks. This will allow full business plans to be prepared for the projects proposed under the Belfast Region City Deal and release the investment.

Reacting to the news, Angela McGowan, CBI NI regional director, said: "While the Belfast City Deal represents a sizeable investment which should help to accelerate local economic development, create jobs and boost innovation in growth sectors, there will be some disappointment that it didn’t reach the £450m expected.

"Nonetheless, the government's commitment should give confidence to other similar proposed City Deals in the North West which could play a big role in attracting investment and talent to Northern Ireland."

Ashleen Feeney, director at KPMG, added: "We welcome the announcement that the UK Government will contribute £350m towards the ambitious Belfast Region City Deal, the first City Deal in Northern Ireland.  We also welcome that formal negotiations will now commence on Derry-Londonderry and Strabane Region City Deal. 

"The progression of all NI City Deals is critically important in assisting to address the region’s infrastructure deficit and productivity gap and also ensuring inclusive economic growth."

BRCD partners fully support other deals for Northern Ireland and will work to ensure that they are complementary to one another.

Media enquiries to Queen’s Communications Office, tel: +44 (0)28 9097 3091.

Photo inset (L-R): John Hansen (KPMG), Suzanne Wylie (Belfast City Council), Liam Hannaway (Newry Mourne & Downe District Council), Queen's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Ian Greer and Ashleen Feeney (KPMG).

Inset photo credit Ashleen Feeney; video credit Belfast City Council

 

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