Rural Development Minister announces Priority 6 budget allocations for Council areas

23 October 2014

Priority 6 funding for Rural Development is a European priority and is designed to promote social inclusion, poverty reduction and economic development in rural areas which will focus on supporting: business development, diversification and basic services. The funding will be administered by newly formed Local Action Groups (LAG).

Minister O’Neill said: "Spread across 10 geographical areas and amounting to almost £70million this funding will foster local development in rural areas by supporting business development, basic services, the renewal of villages and activities aimed at the restoration and upgrading of the cultural and natural heritage of rural areas and to promote the sustainability of rural areas."

The breakdown of the funding is as follows:

  • Antrim and Newtownabbey - £2.61m
  • Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon  - £8.02m
  • Causeway Coast and Glens - £9.60m
  • Derry and Strabane - £7.54m
  • Fermanagh and Omagh - £8.29m
  • Lisburn and Castlereagh and Belfast Rural - £3.22m
  • Mid and East Antrim - £4.19m
  • Mid Ulster - £10.16m
  • Newry, Mourne and Down - £11.18m
  • North Down and Ards - £3.85m

Explaining how the allocations were reached the Minister said: "The population size of a rural area will impact on the demand for services and economic stimulus in an area placing a significant demand on resources which is why 40% of the allocation to each area is based on its share of the overall rural population.

"Tackling poverty and isolation has been a key priority of mine and I am delighted that the EU has placed a greater emphasis on poverty and isolation in the new EU funding programme period. This is why 50% of the funds allocated to each area have been done so on the basis of the employment deprivation extent in an area and each areas multiple deprivation score. The final 10% of each allocation ensures that each area has a minimum allocation to be effective, this is in line with EU guidance."

The Minister said she was hopeful that this priority will be open for funding as soon as EU Commission approves the RDP programme next spring. She said: "My Department has submitted the new Rural Development Programme to the European Commission for consideration. It usually takes about six months for the Commission to sign off a programme. Once approved the Priority 6 schemes will be administered by the newly formed LAGs across the 10 geographical areas."