Business lobbies back Derry City Deal

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The North’s manufacturing, retail and hospitality sectors have backed a City Deal for Derry in a new joint policy statement.

Manufacturing NI, Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster are also calling for £300m set aside to fund the devolution of Corporation Tax to be reinvested in skills and rates relief for business.

‘A New Deal For Northern Ireland’, produced by the three business groups headed up by Derryman Stephen Kelly and Glyn Roberts and Colin Neill, respectively, outlines a range of areas needing urgent attention from Westminster in order to boost the economy and increase productivity levels.

The groups are demanding that the pace of delivery of City Deals for both Derry and Belfast be rapidly accelerated.

“Business owners west of the Bann should be given the same opportunities as their eastern-counterparts. It’s as simple as that,” they state.

“Many businesses west of the Bann are still dealing with slower broadband speeds, poor road networks and a general lack of infrastructure and tourism development in this area. We want Westminster to step in and balance the playing field.

“We fully support City Deals for Belfast and Derry/Londonderry but we also need to ensure our rural towns get a fair deal by Government introducing a Rural Town Investment Fund,” the groups add.

The business lobbies have called on Westminster to set a firm date of April 2021 for the introduction of a rate of Corporation Tax here.

In the meantime they have asked that the £300 million earmarked to fund Corporation Tax to have been originally in place for April 2018, be reinvested in skills, infrastructure and the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme.