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Driving NI’s economy through councils: learning from the c. £5 billion + Welsh City and Growth Deals

Delegation from (NILGA), representing NI’s 11 councils, visit Wales to examine existing and planned City and Growth Deal initiatives across Wales.

Four such deals are worth around £5 billion and involve all 22 councils in Wales. During the visit, key partners will be offering guidance based on direct delivery experience of City and Growth Deals, including the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, which has been instrumental in bidding for the North Wales Growth Deal, the Growing Mid Wales Partnership, which is working towards a Mid Wales Growth Deal, as well as those involved in the Cardiff Capital and Swansea Bay City Region Deals.

Taking place on Thursday 15 and Friday 16 November, the impact and progress visit, funded in part by the Welsh Government and organised in conjunction with the Welsh Local Government Association, will enable NILGA member councils to understand and learn more about the pathways and progress of City and Growth Deals at this key time for City Deal development across Northern Ireland.

The delegation will look at the economic, social and public services efficiency impact of the Deals in Wales and will take back such lessons and practices for the betterment of proposed Deals in Northern Ireland.

As Brexit draws ever-closer, this visit will also cover working with Welsh local councils to discuss the regulatory impacts and to share views on the replacement of EU Funds – worth £3.5 billion over 5 years in Northern Ireland – through the Shared Prosperity Fund.

Derek McCallan, Chief Executive of NILGA said:

“The 2018 Budget committed £350 million for the Belfast City Region Deal and for negotiations for a Derry City Deal to begin, making this a unique opportunity for member councils and NILGA to learn best practice, share economic visions and see first-hand the stability and prosperity that City Deals can bring.

“The 11 councils in Northern Ireland are dynamic hubs of economic development and public service delivery. We will be examining and exploring the importance of close collaboration and partnership between local government, central government and business actors in the development and delivery of City and Growth Deals. We’ve no time to waste here. We need to catch up.

“I want to thank our sister organisation, the Welsh Local Government Association, as well as the Welsh Government for organising this visit, which will ensure that our councils have the same competitive advantages as other regions, which we desperately need at present.”

Ends//…

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