Northern Ireland news

No Derry city deal timetable six months after commitment

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood was given a commitment to a city deal for Derry by former secretary of state James Brokenshire. Picture by Hugh Russell
Seamus McKinney

THE British government has yet to establish a time-table for a “city deal” for Derry despite giving a verbal commitment to the scheme in December.

Secretary of State Karen Bradley told Labour MP Conor McGinn the government was committed to a series of city deals across Northern Ireland.

The deals involve an agreement between the government and a city, giving it the power to take decisions to boost business and economic growth.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond pledged support for a deal for Belfast in his budget statement in November. This was followed up by verbal support for a Derry deal from former secretary of state James Brokenshire in December.

The pledge was made in talks with SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood. The issue was also raised in talks last month between Foyle MP Elisha McCallion and Mrs Bradley.

In response to a question from Mr McGinn, Mrs Bradley said civil servants were working with representatives of Derry City and Strabane District council on a proposal.

She said the British government had given a commitment to work towards a "comprehensive and ambitious set of city deals across Northern Ireland".

However, Ms Bradley said: "A timetable has not been set to deliver a city deal (for Derry)".

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