Mid South West Welcomes Chancellor’s £126m Growth Deal Funding

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Pictured left to right Councillor Cathal Mallaghan, Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Chief Executive Roger Wilson, Professor Gordon Matheson and Councillor Robert Irvine.
Pictured left to right Councillor Cathal Mallaghan, Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Chief Executive Roger Wilson, Professor Gordon Matheson and Councillor Robert Irvine.

The £126m of Growth Deal funding pledged by the UK government for the Mid South West in Budget 2020 will play a crucial role in helping the region reach the ambitions set out in its new Regional Economic Strategy, the Chair of the Mid South West Steering Group, Councillor Cathal Mallaghan has said.

Due to be launched later this month, the strategy is focused on increasing productivity and creating more and better paid jobs in the Mid South West Region in a unique collaboration between Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Fermanagh & Omagh District Council and Mid Ulster District Council.

The Growth Deal support, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in last week’s budget, will be one of a number of funding streams levered to boost the region’s economic output by improving infrastructure, boosting the skills base, encouraging innovation and developing tourism.

Prime Minister Boris Johnston had previously announced the funding in summer 2019 as part of a package of measures to boost the economies of the Mid South West, Causeway Coast and Glens and parts of Scotland and Wales. The Chancellor’s Budget Statement 2020 was the first time the exact funding amount – £126m – had been confirmed.

It cements the Regional Economic Strategy and marks a new period of growth for the Mid South West, which will allow businesses in the region to grow and improve prosperity for all its citizens.

Chair of the Mid South West Steering Group, Councillor Cathal Mallaghan said: “This announcement marks the next step in the Mid South West’s journey to economic prosperity. It, along with other funding streams, will play a central role in closing the productivity gap between this region and others here, and in doing so will boost prosperity for all.

“We have carried out extensive analysis into the Mid South West economy to explore where funding such as this can best be used to enable industry to thrive. We are looking forward to revealing our Regional Economic Strategy later this month and are committed to investing the Growth Deal funding as effectively as possible. In addition, we look forward to securing match funding from the Executive”.

It charts a course not only for the further development of the Mid South West Region itself, but also for the growth of Northern Ireland and has been developed following a detailed analysis and consultation with government departments and agencies, InvestNI, skills bodies, business representative groups and educational institutions and universities.