North-west of Northern Ireland: Investment

Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at on 8 February 2023.

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Photo of Colum Eastwood Colum Eastwood Social Democratic and Labour Party, Foyle

What steps he is taking with Cabinet colleagues to help increase investment in the north-west of Northern Ireland.

Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

This is an active morning, Mr Speaker. The Government are committed to supporting all areas of Northern Ireland, and are delivering significant investment in the north-west through several funding streams.

Photo of Colum Eastwood Colum Eastwood Social Democratic and Labour Party, Foyle

The Minister will know that the people of Derry have been waiting five and a half decades for a full-scale university to be built in the city. Given that we have no Government at Stormont, are this Government ever going to do anything about that?

Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

The hon. Gentleman knows that progress is continuing on the Derry and Strabane city deal following the signing of the heads of terms in February 2021. The deal includes 10 project proposals in the areas of innovation, digital and health and regeneration, tourism and renewal. We continue to provide £55 million for the inclusive future fund; I would try the patience of the House if I listed all the various funding streams coming. The hon. Gentleman is undoubtedly a fine champion of his area and I am sure he will continue to hold us to account on all these matters.

Photo of Tonia Antoniazzi Tonia Antoniazzi Shadow Minister (Northern Ireland), Opposition Whip (Commons)

Last week, I was fortunate enough to visit Coleraine football club, which recently found out that it was unsuccessful in its levelling-up bid. The priority index was not applied in Northern Ireland, meaning that it is difficult to establish whether levelling up has achieved its purpose. With a Government committed to pitting communities against each other for funding, will the Minister assure me that groups across Northern Ireland will have equitable access to the levelling-up process for future bids, or will they be left at a disadvantage and as an after-thought?

Photo of Steven Baker Steven Baker The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office

Once again, if we were to list all the funding streams for Northern Ireland, hon. Members would see—[Interruption.] A disgrace, Labour Members shout. The idea that there is any kind of pitting of communities against one another is really quite ridiculous. If a Labour Government came to power, we would certainly seek to hold them to account in the same terms. The reality is that we are working extremely hard to improve life in Northern Ireland for everyone, and right across the whole UK.