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The £700million investment package agreed today by The Executive will be crucial in helping to rebuild the economy after the Coronavirus emergency, First Minister Arlene Foster has said.

The funding has been announced for infrastructure, regeneration and tourism projects across Northern Ireland and includes £562million match funding for City and Growth Deals and £55million for the Inclusive Future Fund.

First Minister Arlene Foster said: “The crisis imposed upon us by Coronavirus has had devastating consequences across our society and upended the economy.

“Prior to the emergency, the Executive had a very clear focus on growing the economy. This has become even more important as we seek to rebuild as part of our recovery plan.

“We hope this significant investment will act as a catalyst for growth, maximising economic impact and boosting productivity.

“In addition, I’m pleased that the Executive has also agreed to create a £100million fund for City and Growth Deal areas to bid for additional funding aimed at bringing greater prosperity and social benefits to the whole community.”

The deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said: “While we are still very much in the midst of a crisis, it is important that we work towards rebuilding our society and the economy.

“This investment of more than £700million by the Executive will be transformative for our regional economy. It will boost jobs and deliver much needed projects across the north.

“The package includes match funding for the Derry and Strabane City Deal and Inclusive Future Fund which now totals £210million. After years of sustained under-investment in the region, this is a significant and long overdue development for Derry, west Tyrone and the entire North West area.

“I want to put on record my thanks to the political, community and business leaders who have worked tirelessly to bring about this much needed investment.”