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MPs hear from local reps on City Deals, regional investment, and social enterprise sector

21 February 2022

Representatives from Belfast, Derry/Londonderry and the Glens of Antrim will give evidence to the Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on the performance of City Deals, the effectiveness of regional investment, and the future of the social enterprise sector.


Wednesday 23 February 2022

At 9.30am

  • Councillor Kate Nicholl, Lord Mayor of Belfast
  • Damien Martin, Programme Manager, Belfast Region City Deal
  • Professor Stuart Elborn, Project Lead, Institute of Research Excellence for Advanced Clinical Healthcare (iREACH)
  • Dr Godfrey Gaston, Project Lead, Global Innovation Institute (GII), Queen’s University Belfast

At 10.45am

  • Stephen Gillespie, Director of Business & Culture, Invest Derry City & Strabane
  • Eddie McGoldrick, Director, Grow the Glens
  • Paddy McLaughlin, Director, Grow the Glens

City Deals offer funding and powers to local and regional bodies to target key industries in these areas based on their potential for growth.

The £1 billion Belfast City Region Deal (BCRD), signed in 2021, was the first such deal for Northern Ireland, and also covers Mid and East Antrim, and Newry. It targets high growth potential sectors including financial services and digital tech. Partners of the fund include Queen’s University, who’ll also be giving evidence alongside the Lord Mayor of Belfast and a senior manager of the BCRD.

Derry/Londonderry, and the Glens also have their own deals in the pipeline, but the potential impact of these is as yet ‘unquantified’, according to Invest NI. Directors from Invest Derry City & Strabane and from Grow the Glens will follow the Belfast representatives to answer questions on regional investment and to discuss opportunities for investment in the social enterprise sector.

This is a key period for investment in Northern Ireland as the UK Government seek to introduce a new mechanism for distributing regionally targeted funds after Brexit. Invest NI had received around £23m a year from European Regional Development Funds.

Northern Ireland has suffered from chronic underinvestment, with many employers identifying a lack of skills as a key issue while skilled young people often choose to leave the region citing a lack of opportunities and poor community relations.

Further information

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