Belfast Region City Deal
The highly ambitious Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD), signed in December 2021, arrives at a critical time.
The following short film outlines our ambitious plans for the Belfast City Region.
The Deal represents a new way of working between central and local government and regional partners and secures a bespoke package of investment from central government and the BRCD partners of more than £850 million to support the delivery of our shared vision of:
“Inclusive economic growth that delivers more and better jobs, a positive impact on the most deprived communities and a balanced spread of benefits across the region”.
To view the deal document please click here.
The substantial financial commitment, which will be further supplemented by the private sector, will generate up to 20,000 jobs as it is delivered over the next 10-15 years - an exciting, once in a generation opportunity to accelerate economic growth for the region in an inclusive and sustainable way.
This Deal will strengthen the region’s offer in growth sectors such as life and health sciences, the digital and creative industries, and advanced manufacturing. It will support next generation digital capabilities, boost tourism and support the regeneration of our region, underpinned by infrastructure developments and investment in skills to connect people to jobs and services.
The BRCD involves an integrated programme of investment that cuts across the responsibilities of local councils, the Northern Ireland Executive and UK Government. The BRCD partners comprises Belfast City Council, five partner councils, two universities and four of the region’s further education colleges.
- Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Ards
- Ards and North Down Borough Council, Belfast City Council
- Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council
- Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
- Newry, Mourne and Down District Council
As well as:
- Queen's University Belfast
- Ulster University
- Belfast Metropolitan College
- Northern Regional College
- South Eastern Regional College
- Southern Regional College
The BRCD partners have worked with the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to secure the Deal, with each government partner committing to invest £350m over the lifetime of the deal.
It is estimated that over the lifetime of the programme the BRCD will:
- Support the creation of up to 20,000 jobs as part of the high growth ambitions for the region
- Connect local people to the new and better jobs that are being created
- Place the region at the top table of digital innovation
- Deliver £400million in GVA directly on-site and within the Belfast region
- Target delivery of almost £1billion of private sector leverage in addition to the funding contributions already identified across the City Deal
- Create compelling world class visitor attractions, that will attract visitors from across the globe
- Help to regenerate major towns and cities across the region
The ambitions for inclusive growth will be delivered through the following pillars of investment:
Innovation and Digital - Achieving world leading competitive advantage in key sectors: building our innovation and digital capability - facilitating invention, commercialisation and widespread adoption as a driver of economic prosperity and increased well-being
Tourism and Regeneration - Boosting tourism and regenerating our region – creating world-class visitor attractions and investing in towns and cities to provide a year-round destination that will provide stand out in international markets
Infrastructure – connecting people to opportunity and services through enhanced and sustainable infrastructure
Employability and Skills - Putting in place arrangements to enable a constant pipeline of talent to support the growth created by the BRCD investments and ensure that the right skills are available within the region to support the emerging job opportunities.
The BRCD partners will deliver upon its inclusive growth and sustainability commitments by:
- Ensuring our projects integrate and deliver upon these commitments into their design, development and delivery;
- Delivering the BRCD Employability & Skills Programme; and
- Using policy levers to integrate inclusive, sustainable growth, for example by integrating social value within procurement processes etc.
- BRCD partners fully support other City/Growth Deals across in Northern Ireland and will work collaboratively to maximise the complementary of these investments.
What Does this mean for Newry, Mourne and Down?
BRCD funding has enabled us to progress on the following groundbreaking projects that will be transformational for our district:
The Mourne Mountains Gateway will redefine visitors’ experience of the Mourne Mountains whilst supporting the sustainable growth of tourism and protecting the natural heritage and habitat of the region. The project will deliver a world class visitor attraction, and will create improved, and more sustainable access to the Mournes.
Newry Southern Relief Road will link the A1 bypass with the A2 Warrenpoint dual carriageway providing an alternative strategic route for traffic that reduces pressure on Newry city centre, facilitates onward travel to Dublin and improves access to other regional gateways.
Newry City Centre Regeneration will deliver a civic hub, theatre and conferencing facilities which, together with new public realm and grade A office provision, will revitalise the city. The regeneration will also create and sustain jobs, increase visitor numbers, appeal to residents and stimulate the evening economy.
Digital and Innovation Projects: Technological Innovation is one of the most powerful drivers of increased wealth and productivity as well as improved well-being. Our Digital Programme of Investment will play a critical role in contributing to economic inclusion and sustainable growth. In recognition of the pace of technological and societal change, a challenge-led, long-term, flexible Digital Programme has been developed which will maximise the parallel investments in the universities’ centres of excellence and together focus on those areas where the region can be distinctive and competitive.
The key interventions of the Digital Programme include:
- The Belfast Region Innovation Challenge Fund
- Enabling Infrastructure
- Regional Innovation hubs
Skills and Employment: Creating skills for growth, inclusion and for a digital future are key priorities for BRCD partners.
Through collaboration with the Department for Communities, Local Councils will utilise the opportunity of Local Labour Market Partnerships working alongside BRCD partners, to ensure alignment with both local needs and Belfast Region priorities.