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Belfast Agenda already delivering a city boost

  • Nearly 1,900 jobs have been created and more than 1,200 businesses have been supported to start-up, grow or develop an international profile by Belfast City Council over the last six months.

    This has been achieved as a result of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee tailoring a number of delivery plans, including city centre development, support for business, employability and skills and the tourism and cultural framework to align with the aims of the council’s Corporate Plan and to maximise the council’s contribution to the city’s long-term development plan –the Belfast Agenda.

    The Belfast Agenda is committed to inclusive growth and growing the local economy to improve the quality of life for those who live, work in or visit Belfast and is being delivered in partnership with a range of statutory, voluntary and community organisations.

    Details about the number of jobs created, directly and indirectly, as a result of council support were given to councillors as part of a progress report on the 2018/2019 City Growth and Regeneration Committee work plan.

    Councillor Donal Lyons, chair of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said: “It is amazing to see the difference that can be made in a short period of time when efforts are concentrated on a specific aim – in this case supporting the Belfast Agenda and the council’s Corporate Plan.

    “As members of the City Growth and Regeneration Committee it is important to receive updates like this. The Belfast Agenda has at its core a commitment to inclusive growth and as a committee we contribute to the delivery of the four major work-streams.

    “However, Growing the Economy, City Development and Working and Learning are the focus of our responsibilities so it is satisfying to see the progress made especially for each and every individual who has been helped along the way, whether to find a job or develop a business,” he added.

    “Now that the Belfast Region City Deal has been agreed we are looking forward to progressing that as well for the benefit of everyone in Belfast and the wider region,” said the councillor.

    The council, he says is continually learning and adapting its response in contributing to the success of the Belfast Agenda. The committee is looking at how the proposed introduction of ‘social value’ in its procurement contracts might be even more successful than the use of a ‘social clause’ in boosting inclusive growth – a prime aim of the Belfast Agenda.

    If agreed the council will encourage its partners in the Belfast Agenda to follow the same policy in all of their procurement proposals.

    This follows a report on how Heron Bros Ltd went further than the social clauses imposed as part of its Leisure Transformation contract ring-fencing employment opportunities for the economically inactive, creating new apprenticeships and paid work experiences.

    The company also committed to develop supply chain links with local micro, small businesses and social enterprises. In addition, it sponsored a number of community events and festivals in the areas where it is building three new leisure centres, sponsored sports development projects with North Belfast Harriers and National Trust and supported education and health initiatives.

    “Building on this we believe introducing ‘social value’ into procurement projects is a better way to boost inclusive growth and will provide benefits over a wider scale and in greater numbers for communities,” said Councillor Lyons.

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