Welcome as Council to get slice of PM Boris’ £300m funding package

SDLP Cllr Mealla Campbell
SDLP Cllr Mealla Campbell

Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council is in with a portion of a £300m funding package announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnston on Monday.

With Mid Ulster and Fermanagh and Omagh councils, the £300m package will also be divided up between parts of Scotland and Wales.

Cllr Mark Baxter

Cllr Mark Baxter

Mr Johnston said it is help local communities and “ensure no corner of the United Kingdom is left behind.”

The move follows a unique collaboration by all three councils last year to develop a growth deal proposition for the area in a letter to the then Chancellor Philip Hammond.

They have pledged to work together to develop a strategic economic plan focused on improving productivity; creating more and better jobs; addressing economic infrastructure; growing investment; supporting business innovation and improving skills.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “As I said when I stood on the steps of Downing Street last week, it is time that we unleashed the productive power not just of London and the South East but of every corner of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Important projects like government’s Growth Deals – backed with £300m new funding – will open up opportunities across our Union so people in every corner of the United Kingdom can realise their potential.”

Councillor Mealla Campbell, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, said: “Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council welcome confirmation of growth deal funding for the Mid, South and West region. This is a unique opportunity for the councils to work together to drive economic growth and lift the living standards of everyone in the region.

“This is new money and an exciting opportunity to make progress with certainty in delivering our collaborative deal to our local areas. We look forward to putting in place the structures we need to allow our companies to grow, to encourage entrepreneurialism and to put in place interventions for economic growth.”

The DUP Councillors on ABC Council also welcomed the package.

DUP Group Leader Mark Baxter stated, “This is a very welcome announcement and will enable ABC Council, along with Mid Ulster and Fermanagh & Omagh Councils, to forge ahead and develop opportunities for economic growth across this region of Northern Ireland.”

He added, “The new Prime Minister has stated that he wants to see the United Kingdom ‘unleash its productive power’ not just in London but right across the UK and this new funding is certainly going to assist in that purpose. I thank all those involved including our own Party Leader for establishing important links with the UK Treasury to enable this funding to become a reality.”

He concluded, “I look forward with my colleagues on ABC Council to getting into the finer detail of the growth deal and how this portion of the £300million regional fund will be spent. It will be most beneficial to ABC Borough and a very welcome boost in further realising our full economic potential as a business focused local authority.”