Bombardier secures £12m of funding to secure jobs in Belfast

Plane manufacturer Bombardier will receive almost £12 million (€13,470,200) of new Government funding to secure jobs at its Belfast factory.

British Chancellor Philip Hammond made the announcement on Wednesday during a one-day visit to the North, during which he toured Bombardier’s production line in Belfast.

He welcomed the new orders of 60 A220s announced last week at the Farnborough Airshow before chairing a financial services roundtable.

The wings for the A220, which was formerly known as the Bombardier CSeries, are made in Belfast.

The new funding for Bombardier will support the company to develop the thrust reverser for the new Airbus A320 NEO nacelle.

There was uncertainty for Bombardier workers in Belfast last year after manufacturing rivals Boeing complained about the firm selling its CSeries jets to Delta Airlines below cost price.

The US Department of Commerce recommended a near 300% punitive duty on sales of the jets for five years, putting around 1,000 jobs in Belfast at risk.

But the International Trade Commission (ITC) in the US ruled against Boeing and in favour of Bombardier in January.

Mr Hammond pledged his support for Bombardier.

“We are backing Bombardier with £12 million of new money to help develop cutting edge technology – here in Northern Ireland – for modern aircraft,” he said.

“This will help to secure jobs for Northern Ireland’s economy and cement the UK’s role as a leading manufacturer of hi-tech aircraft components.”

Mr Hammond then travelled to Derry where he invited a bid for beefed-up development and economic powers.

During a visit to the Ulster University campus, Mr Hammond said the Government would consider an application from Derry for a city deal.

Politicians in the North's second city were angered last year when Mr Hammond’s Budget contained a city deal package for Belfast, but not Derry.

“Northern Ireland is leading the way within the UK in productivity growth,” Mr Hammond said.

Mr Hammond toured the Bombardier factory in Belfast (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I want to support this progress by inviting a bid for a Derry-Londonderry City Deal, an opportunity for the region to continue to drive forward economic growth and build an economy that works for everyone.”

The Government is investing more than £1.6 billion (€1.8bn) in city deals in Scotland and Wales and is in negotiations for a Belfast City Region Deal – the first city deal in the North.

The bespoke agreements with Government, which are already in operation in major urban centres such as Manchester and Glasgow, hand city councils greater powers to lead infrastructure developments, generate wealth and access finance.

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley said: “I am delighted with today’s announcement, which is a positive step in progressing a city deal for Derry-Londonderry.

“It is a testament to the many local partners who have worked tirelessly for progress to be made.

“As Northern Ireland’s second largest centre for economic growth, Derry-Londonderry plays a significant role in the region’s economic success.

“I look forward to now engaging with local partners and across Government as proposals are developed and we build on the existing strengths of this area to deliver a real impact on the economy in the north west and across Northern Ireland.”

- Press Association

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