12/08/2003

Minister calls for £50 million funding bids

The initial areas for potential support from the two-year £50 million Integrated Development Fund (IDF) have been confirmed NIO Minister, Ian Pearson today.

The strategies should complement existing Government strategies for economic, social, community or physical renewal - £20m is available during this financial year and £30m next year.

Launching the Fund, Mr Pearson said: “When I first outlined the Integrated Development Fund at the end of March, I suggested that the North West and the work of the West Belfast and Greater Shankill Taskforces may have a strong case as priority for support from the Fund. In April, I requested that work should begin to produce integrated development strategies for these areas. I have also indicated that the South Down Fishing Villages Taskforce might also draw on Integrated Development Fund support."

The Minister said that while funding will not be automatic, proposals, which have a sound business case, would receive support.

He added: "A key requirement will be the full involvement of all relevant agencies in the production of each integrated development plan. Final plans will also need to ensure there is no duplication of funding from any other sources and demonstrate value for money.

"The Integrated Development Fund should help support those elements of the development strategy that could not be supported from other means.”

The Minister said that he has written to the Chairs of ILEX, the Urban Regeneration Company in the North West, the West Belfast and Greater Shankill Taskforce Liaison Group and the South Down Fishing Villages Taskforce to invite them formally to submit comprehensive plans to be carried forward through an integrated approach, and looked forward to seeing each plan at the earliest opportunity.

“My announcement today does not rule out the possibility of using the Integrated Development Fund to support plans in other areas in due course. I will wish to assess progress within the initial areas identified and, in light of this and depending on future Budget decisions, the Fund could be extended to other areas to assist in the implementation of agreed integrated development strategies," he concluded.

The IDF was established to promote greater local partnership working to produce and implement integrated development strategies for local areas.

(MB)

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