SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has urged the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Theresa Villiers in the House of Commons to grant Derry ‘City Deal’ status.
'City Deal' status is an established structure already in place in various UK cities, which would provide the extra levers required to create thousands of jobs in Derry and meet key targets of the One Plan.
‘City Deals’ devolve different combinations of assets, capacity, intervention powers and investments which allow for all tiers of government – for example the Council, Executive and Westminster – to work together to drive forward critical infrastructure, support local businesses and deliver much needed jobs.
In 2013, tailored city deal packages were concluded in 20 smaller cities in England. The first Scottish deal was also concluded earlier this year – the Glasgow City Deal – which is expected to create up to 28,000 jobs over the next 20 years and boost growth there by £1.75billion a year.
Speaking during Northern Ireland Questions, Mr Durkan said: “The government cite city deals as a way to support the economy in the cities and regions on this island (Britain). If the (Northern Ireland) Executive put forward a proposition for a city deal for Derry, would the Secretary of State work with the Treasury and other colleagues to support and deliver that deal as a way of implementing a lot of the key targets of the One Plan?”
Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers replied: “The economic pact between the Executive and the Government was modelled on some of the approaches we take with city deals, but I would be delighted to talk to the hon. Gentleman about any proposals he might have to replicate the city deal model for Derry/Londonderry.”
(Photo © Bernard Ward www.derryphotos.com)