The councils which represent the Mid, South and West region have held a steering group meeting to identify opportunities to boost economic growth and prosperity across the region.

Steering Group representatives from Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Fermanagh & Omagh District Council and Mid Ulster District Council came together in Omagh to share ideas which will be used to inform the development of a Regional Economic Strategy.

The Regional Economic Strategy will be focused on improving productivity; creating more and better jobs; addressing economic infrastructure; growing investment; supporting business innovation and improving skills across the three council areas known as the Mid, South and West region.

The councils are being supported in the development of the strategy by Oxford Economics and Morrow Gilchrist Associates who presented the Steering Group with information on the economic profile of the region, alongside the opportunities and challenges which could be met through, for example the Growth Deal proposition and other economic levers.

Earlier this month, the UK government announced combined funding for a Growth Deal for both the Mid, South and West region and Causeway Coast and Glens of £163m.

In addition to meetings with Councillors, the council group will also be engaging with both business bodies and representatives from a wide range of companies throughout the region in the coming weeks to input their views on how to boost economic growth across the region.

Councillor Siobhán Currie, Chair of Fermanagh & Omagh District Council, said: “Work is ongoing to develop an economic strategy and to identify areas where growth deal funding can be best used within the region. We now look forward to working with the business community to secure its input on how to further develop the economic prosperity of the region.”

Councillor Martin Kearney, Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, said: “Coming together as regional steering group to share and discuss insights into our economic profile is laying a strong foundation upon which our councils can collectively base future decisions. This will ensure that the Mid, South and West Growth Deal supercharges our region’s economy and boosts productivity throughout the area”.

Councillor Mealla Campbell, Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, said:  “The Mid, South and West Growth Deal represents just the beginning for driving sustained, long term economic growth and prosperity across the region. By joining forces, and working hard to truly understand the areas of greatest need, we can make sure this funding is leveraged in the best possible areas and for the most benefit.”