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Landmark deal could have south-west dividend, says MP

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By Newsdesk
Dumfries and West
Landmark deal could have south-west dividend, says MP

A LANDMARK deal between the UK Government and Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) could also bring benefits to Dumfries and Galloway, it was predicted this week.

Dumfries and Galloway MP and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: “This agreement not only secures a welcome resumption of the full democratic process at Stormont, it enhances prospects of additional investment in Wigtownshire and for vital improvements to the A75.

“I’ve long supported strengthening investment links between our region and neighbouring communities in Northern Ireland and I believe this deal sets the scene for future progress on both sides of the North Channel.

“Significantly, the agreement will reduce checks and paperwork on goods staying within the UK and being transported via the Cairnryan ferries, strengthening the route’s commercial attraction and potentially encouraging growth and jobs in our area.”

The agreement, entitled Strengthen Northern Ireland within the Union, includes a UK Government funded Northern Ireland Enhanced Investment Zone, worth £150 million, which will provide targeted incentives and interventions to encourage investment and boost growth.

An official summary of the deal includes: “We will also pursue and engage through the East-West Council (a new GB/NI body) on the scope to extend Investment Zone benefits to the Stranraer/Cairnryan area in Scotland — recognising this vital Union connectivity route and boosting growth.”

Under the heading ‘Bolstering east-west transport links,’ the agreement states: “Facilitating faster road connections for motorists and hauliers between Great Britain and Northern Ireland is key to enable Northern Ireland to grasp the full economic opportunities of its place in the Union and the UK’s internal market.

“The Government is committed to improving journeys on the A75 between Gretna and Stranraer, following the recommendations of the Union Connectivity Review, to alleviate pinch points on the road, providing better links between the Cairnryan ferry terminals serving Northern Ireland and south-west Scotland, connecting with the M6 and Cumbria and the A77 towards Glasgow.”

Legislation confirming the agreement is expected to be passed at Westminster later this week with the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly back in action by the weekend.

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