Plans for an £850 million regional investment are nearing “an important milestone”, according to the Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) Council Panel, which met today in Mid and East Antrim.

Drawn from across the political spectrum, the Council Panel is made up of 24 elected members representing the six BRCD council partners. Working collaboratively with council officers, the Panel is overseeing the development of Outline Business Cases (OBCs) for transformational projects across the innovation and digital, tourism and regeneration, infrastructure, and employability and skills pillars.

Hosted by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, the meeting was chaired by the borough’s Mayor, Councillor Peter Johnston.

The BRCD has been a catalyst for increased collaboration between the six councils and our partners, led by our Council Panel.

Despite significant challenges posed by COVID-19, our combined efforts have seen us continue to make great strides throughout the pandemic in the development of detailed OBCs for more than 20 projects.

Now nearing completion, the submission of business cases to the UK and NI Governments in just a few weeks’ time represents an important milestone in the BRCD journey so far. It takes us one step closer to the delivery phase and seeing this £850 million investment start to flow into our region from as early as April 2021.

The Mayor

Councillor Johnston said BRCD will be “critical” to the economic recovery of the Belfast Region following the global pandemic. He said:

Significant work has been undertaken in recent months by all partners involved to ensure the BRCD proposals align closely to the short to medium-term needs of the region’s economic recovery following the COVID-19 crisis. But this ambitious programme is also about realising the full economic growth potential of the region in the longer term.

As well as creating and sustaining employment, the BRCD will help strengthen the region’s business offer in growth sectors such as life and health sciences, the digital and creative industries, and advanced manufacturing. It will also support next generation digital capabilities, boost tourism and support the regeneration of the region, underpinned by infrastructure developments and investment in skills to connect people to jobs and services.

The BRCD will see the UK Government invest £350 million into the Belfast Region, with a further co-investment of £150 million from Belfast Region City Deal partners. In May 2020, the NI Executive confirmed that it will provide match funding of £350 million towards the BRCD.

The six partner councils in the BRCD are 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. The collaboration also includes Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University and the regional Further Education Colleges (Belfast Metropolitan College; Northern Regional College; Southern Regional College and South Eastern Regional College).