NIO can’t timetable City Deal without bid

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The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) can’t draft a timetable for the delivery of a City Deal until it receives a completed bid from Derry City & Strabane District Council.

Shailesh Vara, a junior minister at Karen Bradley’s department, has advised East Derry MP Gregory Campbell that the British Government needs to see a completed City Deal submission before proceeding.

“Negotiations have been opened for a Belfast City Regions deal; however, a timetable has not been set to deliver a City Deal for Belfast or for Londonderry,” he stated.

“A timetable cannot be agreed until proposals are completed and submitted to Government. Officials from across Whitehall and the Northern Ireland Civil Service have been engaging with partners on their proposals,” he added.

In response DC&SDC told this paper it has been working closely with political representatives and a range of other stakeholders across the city in its bid to secure a City Deal.

“The delivery of a City Deal is pivotal to our plans to increase levels of investment in the area and ultimately transform the City Region. Discussions have been ongoing with the British government in setting out our proposals based on the clear strategic objectives of the Strategic Growth Plan for Derry and Strabane. This has formed the basis of our communications with a number of government departments, including the Department for Communities, the Head of the Civil Service and the Secretary of State over the past number of months to outline our case for a City Deal for the city and region,” a spokesperson said, adding that a City Deal remained top of the Council’s agenda.