Derry city deal: Important milestone as heads of terms signed

Derry city deal: Important milestone as heads of terms signed

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis is to approve the business case for the multi-million pounds Derry City and Strabane District city deal.

Mr Lewis and Stormont Finance Minister Conor Murphy are due to sign the deal’s heads of terms on Wednesday.

It marks “a major milestone” towards the deal’s completion, said First Minister Arlene Foster.

Through the deal, funding of £250m will be invested in the region over 15 years with hopes of creating 7,000 jobs.

It is the largest single investment made in the region with the potential to add about £210m a year to the area’s economy.

Ten major projects are proposed within the deal with a focus on health and life sciences and digital industries.

They include a centre for industrial digitisation, robotics and automation and the establishment of a cognitive analytics research laboratory.

It has been previously confirmed £30m would fund Ulster University’s new graduate entry medical school in the city.

“I am absolutely delighted to sign the heads of terms for the Derry-Londonderry and Strabane city deal,” Mr Lewis said.

“Today’s announcement is part of the UK government’s commitment to developing and delivering a comprehensive and ambitious set of city deals across Northern Ireland and delivering a stronger economy that works for everyone.”

The UK and Stormont governments have each committed funding of £105m for the deal.

Another £40m is being provided by Derry City and Strabane District Council and private partners.

First Minister Arlene Foster said the north-west was a region of “vibrancy and ambition” and that the executive “was working with the UK government, the council and a wide range of stakeholders to turn that potential into reality through collaboration and innovation”.

Signing the heads of terms, she added, would be “an important milestone in the progress of the city deal”.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill described the deal as a “game-changer for the regional economy, driving growth and creating opportunities for people”.

She added: “There is an abundance of potential in the north west and this funding will help to harness it for the good of all”.

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