£350m 'City Deal' for Belfast while talks on Derry deal continue, Chancellor confirms in Budget 2018

Philip Hammond at Magee College.
Philip Hammond at Magee College.

The British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has announced a £350m 'City Deal' for Belfast while saying negotiations on a Derry deal are continuing.

The Belfast development was among a suite of City Deal initiatives announced in his Budget 2018 statement this afternoon.

He also announced £2m for Belfast to help it recover from the devastating Primark fire.

The fact that the Chancellor specifically referred to a City Deal for Derry and Strabane marks progress from 2017.

Last year there was disappointment when Mr. Hammond proposed that “upon restoration of a Northern Ireland Executive, the government will open negotiations for a city deal [sic] for Belfast as part of the government’s commitment to work towards a comprehensive and ambitious set of city deals [sic] across Northern Ireland to boost investment and productivity”.

However, the Chancellor's trip to Derry in July when he met with Mayor, John Boyle, and Council Chief Executive John Kelpie, and invited the submission of a Derry 'City Deal' bid was thought to represent significant progress in the district's attempt to secure the potentially transformative initiative.

This afternoon Mr. Hammond also pledged £300m for shared and integrated cross-community schools projects in the North.