Â£70m fund for business and economic developmentBy Matthew Ord, Digital Staff Writer
Plans for a fund amounting to almost £70m aimed at supporting both business and economic development in Northern Ireland have been submitted to the European Commission.
The budget, called Priority 6, will be administered by newly formed Local Action Groups (LAG).
Rural development minister Michelle O’Neill said the fund would "foster local development in rural areas" by supporting business development, basic services, the renewal of villages and activities aimed at the restoration and upgrading of the cultural and natural heritage of rural areas and to promote the sustainability of rural areas.
She added: "My department has submitted the new Rural Development Programme to the European Commission for consideration. It usually takes about six months for the commission to sign off a programme.
"Once approved the Priority 6 schemes will be administered by the newly formed LAGs across the ten geographical areas."
The breakdown of the funding bid is as follows:
Antrim and Newtownabbey - £2.61m
Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon - £8.02m
Causeway Coast and Glens - £9.60m
Derry and Strabane - £7.54m
Fermanagh and Omagh - £8.29m
Lisburn and Castlereagh and Belfast Rural - £3.22m
Mid and East Antrim - £4.19m
Mid Ulster - £10.16m
Newry, Mourne and Down - £11.18m
North Down and Ards - £3.85m
Fifty per cent of the fund has been allocated "on the basis of the employment deprivation extent" in the area.