SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood used his first meeting with the new Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley to pressure the British Government into sticking by its stated commitment for a City Deal in Derry and Strabane.

He said: "In November I gained a commitment from James Brokenshire that the British Government were now in support of a City Deal for Derry and Strabane. It was a positive commitment which was widely welcomed by the business community in the North West.

"That commitment can’t now fall by the wayside simply because there happens to be new Secretary of State. That’s why I used my first meeting with the new Secretary of State Karen Bradley to reinforce the pledge given by James Brokenshire. I will be working to ensure that the policy and commitment to a City Deal for Derry and Strabane remains unchanged and is speedily delivered.

"In our meeting the new Secretary of State also agreed to come to Derry to meet the council in order to get into the detail of our plans for a City Deal. We agreed that, working alongside the council, this visit would happen now as soon as possible.

"The SDLP has long campaigned that a City Deal offers one of the best economic vehicles to deliver a fair share for the future of the North West. It will mean we can draw down monies directly in order to finally build a full sized university, upgrade our roads and rail and invest in the skills of our young people.

"I am confident that if we now keep the pressure in the right places, we are now in a position to deliver a City Deal here."

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