An ambitious package of economic and integration measures that will help lead to the removal of all “peace walls” in Northern Ireland within ten years will be agreed in Downing Street on Friday.
The First Minister and deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland will meet the Prime Minister, accompanied by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, in Downing Street on Friday afternoon to agree the package that will help Northern Ireland maximise its full potential.
Alongside initiatives to encourage private sector investment and job creation in Northern Ireland, the First Minister and deputy First Minister have already committed to specific measures to break down barriers between sections of the community.
The economic package is expected to include:
- a temporary increase in borrowing powers to help the executive fund the shared future programme
- an investment plan to deliver capital funding and support frontline projects
- targeted support to promote new private sector jobs
- initiatives to drive investment in infrastructure, promote new businesses and boost tourism
The social cohesion package includes measures already announced by the First Minister and deputy First Minister:
- a ten year plan for bringing down “peace walls” dividing sections of the community
- measures on shared schools and housing
- significant regeneration projects
It is also expected to include the potential for the UK government gifting Ministry of Defence houses and bases to be used for shared future projects.
The ambitious package of measures is designed to help move further towards a shared and prosperous Northern Ireland and is supported by the Irish government and the government of the United States.
This is a joint programme that requires both the government and executive to work imaginatively to help move further towards the shared and prosperous Northern Ireland that we want to see.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
Next week in Fermanagh, we will show the world an increasingly outward looking Northern Ireland, that is open for business and focusing on the steps it needs to take to succeed in the global race. This agreement is a symbol of our ambitious vision for Northern Ireland - a genuinely shared society that is fulfilling its economic potential and strengthening the foundations for peace, stability and prosperity for the future.
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers said:
Northern Ireland has taken great strides forward in recent years. Building on the political stability that has been achieved, the government and the executive are committed working together to rebalance the economy and build a genuinely shared future. The Pact we have agreed today will reinforce progress on both those objectives. It will help Northern Ireland to compete in the global race for jobs and investment. And it will underpin our efforts to tackle community divisions. Northern Ireland is already a great place to live, visit and do business. This Pact will go further in helping to fulfil its potential as a modern and dynamic part of the United Kingdom.