The success of a ‘City Deal’ for Derry depends on the restoration of governance at Stormont plus the roll out of powers and match-funding to Derry City & Strabane District Council to allow it to deliver, it has been warned.
The Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, has said the progression of the £50m ‘City Deal’ and the £55m ‘Inclusive Future Fund’ announced last month hinged on the success of ongoing talks in Belfast.
Mrs. Bradley was asked about the ‘City Deal’ by her British Labour Party shadow Tony Lloyd, who said there was pressure on politicians to deliver for Derry.
“Many things in Northern Ireland are simply not going in the right direction,” suggested Mr. Lloyd.
“Decisions are not being made that would be being made in any other part of this country of ours. We have discussed education and health in this chamber before and I want to mention the Derry and Strabane ‘City Deal.’
“Making it come into operation with the match funding depends on having a functioning Executive. These things really do require an Executive and the people of Northern Ireland are paying a high price for the fact that that does not exist,” said the Labour frontbencher.
Mrs. Bradley acknowledged that a revived Assembly and Executive was necessary to legislate for the devolution of further powers to DC&SDC to enable it to wield the ‘City Deal’ effectively.
She said match-funding from Beflast was also needed.
It’s been suggested this could lift the overall investment to over £300m.
“The Derry & Strabane ‘City Deal’ has just been announced and the heads of terms for the Belfast ‘City Deal’ were signed in April this year. Of course the government will do everything it can to deliver those ‘City Deals’.
"They rightly include initiatives by the councils themselves, as is the case across the whole of the UK, but he is right to say that certain powers will need to be divested by Stormont to the councils to enable them to deliver and that match funding will be required,” she said.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley.