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Equality Screening of Economic Strategy

Published online November 2022


The Council has a statutory duty to screen. This includes our strategies, plans, policies, legislative developments; and new ways of working such as the introduction, change or end of an existing service, grant funding arrangement or facility. This screening template is designed to help departments consider the likely equality impacts of their proposed decisions on different groups of customers, service users, staff and visitors.

Before carrying out an equality screening exercise it is important that you have received the necessary training first. To find out about the training needed or any other queries on screening, contact the Equality and Diversity Officer Lorraine Dennis on extension 6027 or by email equality@belfastcity.gov.uk

The accompanying Screening Guidance note provides straightforward advice on how to carry out equality screening exercises. Detailed information about the Section 75 equality duties and what they mean in practice is available on the Equality Commission’s website[1]

The screening template has 4 sections to complete. These are:

Section A - provides details about the policy / decision that is being screened

Section B - gives information on the consultation process, supporting evidence gathered and has 4 key questions outlining the likely impacts on all equality groups.

Section C - has 4 key questions in relation to obligations under the Disability Discrimination Order

Section D - is the formal record of the screening decision.

[1] http://www.equalityni.org/archive/pdf/S75GuideforPublicAuthoritiesApril2010.pdf


Section A

Details about the policy / decision to be screened

1. Title of policy / decision to be screened

Draft Economic Strategy 2022 – 2030

2. Brief description of policy / decision to be screened

The purpose of this project is to develop an economic strategy to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Belfast for the period 2022-2030.  The strategy will clearly articulate the role of Belfast in the regional economy and will identify a series of key propositions to build on areas of competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global business context while ensuring that structural challenges are addressed and environmental issues considered, to drive sustainable and inclusive growth.  It will align with the ambitions set out in the 10x Economic Vision and, like 10x, it will focus on how we can maximise the return on our investments to secure transformational change that can benefit all residents.   

3. Aims and objectives of the policy / decision to be screened:

The strategy aims to undertake a review of the external environment and priority areas of work at a regional and local level taking account of the ongoing challenges associated with Covid 19 and Brexit. The strategy will also identify key actions required over short medium and long term, setting out how council along with our strategic partners can work to achieve sustainable economic growth.

The Economic Strategy 2022 – 2030 objectives are as follows:

  1. Foster growth of indigenous businesses in Belfast by improving innovation, scale up, growth, and survival rates, particularly in sectors aligned with Northern Ireland’s vision for a 10x Economy.
  2. Establish Belfast as a resilient, net-zero, circular economy and foster an urban innovation ecosystem in collaboration with academia, businesses, government and community.
  3. Create new and better jobs in the city by driving innovation and increasing value add of businesses activity.
  4. Build and maintain a skills pipeline that addresses the skills gaps of Belfast’s current and future businesses, with clear pathways for access to and progression in priority sectors
  5. Improve socio-economic inclusion in the city by providing fair access to well-paid jobs
  6. Grow levels of exports and FDI in Belfast, supporting businesses to capitalise on Belfast’s unique geographical opportunities.
  7. Establish Belfast as a vibrant place to invest, live, work and play and attract a diverse and skilled workforce for the future.

4. On whom will the policy / decision impact?

Consider the internal and external impacts (both actual or potential) and explain:

Staff  - Yes

Service users - Yes

Businesses /Belfast Residents / Investors

Other public sector organisations - Yes

Voluntary / community groups / trade unions          YES     

Others, please specify                                                 YES

All those who live in, work in, study, invest in or visit the city.

5. Are there linkages to other Agencies/ Departments?

The Economic Strategy contains several elements to develop a vibrant and prosperous economy.  While the strategy is being led by Belfast City Council (Place & Economy), the engagement of and alignment with the work of key partners across the public, private and third sectors will be central to its effectiveness.  This partnership approach is a key feature of the strategy development process and will be reflected in the propositions for action, given the disparate range of responsibilities across a large number of organisations.  Engagement has taken place with the Community Planning Team to explore how the engagement work undertaken can feed into the ongoing development work on the Belfast Agenda refresh.  The vision and objectives developed through the strategy work will form the basis of the Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Growth Pillar of the Belfast Agenda Refresh.  Therefore, close collaborative working across several agencies and organisations from across the public, private and community sectors, with the appropriate agency/department taking the lead.


Section B

Information on the consultation process, supporting evidence gathered and has 4 key questions outlining the likely impacts for equality and good relations

6. Outline consultation process planned or achieved

Through the development of the strategy to date there has been a series of internal and external engagements undertaken. A Project Steering group was established with representatives from across the council to support the development of the strategy and a series of workshops have been undertaken to inform and shape content. The project steering group includes representatives from: City and Organisational Strategy; Place and Economy; Physical Programmes; Innovation City Belfast. On completion of the strategy and following internal agreement and approval at the City Growth and Regeneration Committee on 8 June 2022, an eight-week public consultation will commence. The public consultation will begin in August. Results and findings of the consultations will be ready in autumn 2022.

As part of the consultation, engagement will also take place with Section 75 groups to ensure equality considerations are being met by the strategy. An outline of the engagement plan is included in the table below.

   
Strategic Partners: Key Engagement Mechanism
  • Department of Economy
  • Department of Communities
  • Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities
  • Department for International Trade
  • One to One Engagement
  • Yoursay Platform (Survey)
Stakeholder engagement (Business Community) Key Engagement Mechanism
  • Invest Northern Ireland
  • Catalyst
  • QUB
  • Ulster University
  • Belfast Harbour
  • Belfast Met
  • NI Chamber of Commerce
  • Belfast Chamber of Commerce
  • Fintech NI
  • Women in Business
  • CBI NI
  • Social Enterprise NI
  • British Business Bank
  • Industry groups – MEGA, ADS, CIC, NIA etc (As appropriate)
  • Strategic Investment Board
  • Sustainable NI
  • Belfast Climate Commission
  • Place Based Climate Action Network
  • UK Cities Climate Investment Commission
  • Yoursay Platform (Survey)
  • 1-2-1 Meetings as required
Strategic Groups: Key Engagement Mechanism
  • Innovation and Inclusive Growth Commission
  • Community Planning Partnership and boards - Jobs, skills and education, Living here, City development and Resilience boards
  • VCSE Panel
  • Innovation City Belfast
  • Solace Economic Recovery Group
  • Workshops
  • Yoursay Platform (Survey)
  • Existing Meetings and Board Meetings
Other Business Networks Key Engagement Mechanism
  • Commercial agents,
  • City centre businesses,
  • Trade Unions,
  • Key developers
  • Belfast Chamber,
  • Retail NI,
  • NI Retail Consortium,
  • Trade NI.
  • Yoursay Platform (Survey)
  • Social Media
General Public Key Engagement Mechanism
  • All Residents of Belfast (inclusive)
  • Yoursay Platform (Survey)
  • Social Media
Section 75 Key Engagement Mechanism
  • Migrant Forum
  • Disability Forum
  • Younger people Forum
  • Older people Forum
  • Ethnic Forum
  • Migrant Forum
  • LGBT Forum
  • Yoursay Platform (Survey)
  • Attend Forum Meetings
  • Social Media
Internal Stakeholders Key Engagement Mechanism
  • Elected Members
  • CMT
  • City Growth and Regeneration Committee
  • Internal Steering Group representatives
  • Policy /Research Unit
  • City and Organisational Strategy
  • Place and Economy
  • Physical Programmes
  • Innovation City Belfast
  • City and Neighbourhood Services
  • Workshops
  • Yoursay Platform (Survey)
  • Existing Meetings
  • Party Group leaders meetings and workshops
  • Webinars
Concept development sessions:
Internal Steering Group Workshops:
  • SWOT Workshop
  • Objectives Setting Workshop
  • Draft Strategy Development Workshop
  • Elected Members Workshop

7. Available evidence

What evidence / information (both qualitative and quantitative) have you gathered to inform this policy? Set out all evidence below to help inform your screening assessment.

It is important to record information gathered from a variety of sources such as: monitoring information; complaints; research surveys; consultation exercises from other public authorities.

There are a number of economic challenges that affect Belfast and its ability to achieve sustainable and inclusive economic growth:

  • Competitiveness - The UUEPC Competitiveness Scorecard suggests that in 2020 Northern Ireland was behind 59% of OECD/European comparator regions and would be behind 61% of those regions by 2030; and this trend pre-dates COVID.  While NI has improved its performance over time, competitor countries have improved more quickly and moved ahead.
  • Productivity - Northern Ireland lags behind other comparable regions in term of levels of productivity.  Belfast’s productivity growth reflects this having historically fallen behind other UK cities.
  • Micro business economy – 80% of the registered businesses in the Belfast City Council area are Micro businesses, 15% are small, the size and predominately local focus of these businesses presents sustainability and growth challenges for the city. 
  • Low business start-up rates: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2019 reported Belfast continues to lag behind the NI average for early-stage entrepreneurial activity (4.2% to 6.6%).  Belfast has also been identified as one of ten cities with the lowest business start-up rates. 
  • Economic inactivity: over the last 15 years, economic inactivity in NI has been consistently higher than the UK average. The current rate is 27.9%.

COVID-19 has exacerbated some of these structural challenges - exposing the lack of resilience in the local economy:

  • InterTradeIreland’s Business Monitor: Half of firms report that they are now contracting, winding down or surviving at all costs, compared to just 13 percent at the same point last year. The survey reveals that 58% of businesses continue to struggle with reduction in demand for goods and services, low business and consumer confidence and the subsequent impact on their cash flow.
  • Claimant count rate: As of February 2021, the rate was 6.2%, or 14,015 claimants
  • As of February 2021, across Northern Ireland Belfast had the highest uptake of the self-employment support allowance (i.e. 71.4%), with approximately 8,000 people making claims
  • NISRA confirmed 90 redundancies in May 2022, taking the annual total to 1,620, which was 73% less than the previous year (5,930). In the same 12-month period, there were 2,110 proposed redundancies, which was 77% less than the previous year (9,160)’.
Policy Context

Regional

The development of the economic strategy for Belfast will align to a range of regional and local policies and strategies, including but not limited to the following:

Programme for Government and Draft Outcomes Framework

The draft PfG (2016), compiled by the NI Executive, sets out a series of broad outcomes for societal well-being, including on economic competitiveness, employment, innovation, skills and equality.

The NI Executive is developing a new strategic, Outcomes-based Programme for Government (PfG). It aims to deliver real, lasting and positive change in people’s lives. The consultation on the outcomes framework for the new PfG closed in January 2021. It included the following indicative outcomes, each of which incorporated a series of associated priorities to support delivery:

  • Our children and young people have the best start in life
  • We live and work sustainably – protecting the environment
  • We have an equal and inclusive society where everyone is valued and treated with respect
  • We all enjoy long, healthy, active lives
  • Everyone can reach their potential
  • Our economy is globally competitive, regionally balanced and carbon-neutral
  • Everyone feels safe – we all respect the law and each other
  • We have a caring society that supports people throughout their lives
  • People want to live, work and visit here

Department for the Economy Economic Recovery Action Plan

“Rebuilding a Stronger Economy” set the priorities for a more competitive, inclusive and greener economy which focusses on:

  • Building a higher skilled and agile workforce
  • Pursuing and securing better jobs; and, ultimately
  • Producing a more regionally balanced economy

The Economic Recovery Action Plan defines the immediate actions to deliver against that agenda setting out the Northern Ireland Executive’s plans to build a pathway to economic recovery as a result of the impact of COVID-19. The plan sets out a range of targeted interventions to encourage external growth in internationally focussed high-value added sectors where NI has the ability to exploit competitive advantage which will contribute to:

  • Building a higher skilled and agile workforce;
  • Stimulating research and development and innovation
  • Promoting investment trade and exports
  • Building a greener economy.

10X Economy

This document sets out DfE’s economic vision for a ‘10X Economy’. A 10X Economy is a transformational mind-set centred on what can be achieved with the right levels of ambition.

The aim is to see a tenfold increase in innovation while also achieving a fairer distribution of opportunities for people to participate in and benefit from our economic growth. This level of ambition to build a ‘10X Economy’ reflects the scale of the challenges ahead, and the opportunity we have to make a generational change. The document identifies five steps to success to develop interventions to help us realise the vision. These include:

  • Technologies and clusters – focusing on priority clusters where NI can be a global leader, building on existing strengths and capitalising on windows of opportunity
  • Talent – Inspiring and preparing a future generation of workers that can respond flexibly to future skills requirements. Ensuring everyone across NI has opportunities to thrive
  • Diffusion – Ensuring that innovation provides opportunities across all sectors, not just those at the cutting edge, and disperses economic and societal benefits to all
  • Funding – taking a new approach to funding interventions including challenge funds, better participation in funding programmes and applying conditionalities to offer of government support
  • Place – building on successes in attracting visitors to our world class attractions, experiences, and events, energising our ecosystem for innovation, and developing our innovation infrastructure through the City and Growth Deals Programme.

Building Forward: Consolidated COVID-19 Recovery Plan

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges in Northern Ireland, diverting resources and operational delivery away from business as usual and Departmental planning to provide an immediate, coordinated response to COVID-19.

The crisis has also acted as a driver and accelerant for change, with digital transformation in how our public services are delivered becoming the norm, sustainability efforts enabled through new ways of working, and a greater focus being put on the mental health of the population, to name a few examples.

Each Department has been focusing on recovery plans as they begin to transition from crisis mode to short term recovery considerations, with some significant work already delivered. The Executive Office has worked with departments to develop an integrated Recovery Plan to deliver societal, economic and health recovery in order to inform the Executive of the priorities for the government with regards to accelerating recovery.

The Plan presents cross-departmental action focused on accelerating recovery over the next 24 months. While the actions are focused on the immediate future, they also take account of COVID-19 restrictions and the medium to long term draft Programme for Government Outcomes Framework. In amongst the short term actions, this Recovery Plan will also identify opportunities to plan for longer term ambition.

In developing the Recovery Plan, emphasis has been on cross-departmental priorities which play different recovery roles, for example strengthening, transforming and innovating, to accelerate recovery across four main areas:

  • sustainable economic development;
  • green growth and sustainability;
  • tackling inequalities
  • and health of the population.

Belfast Region City Deal

The Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) comprises Belfast City Council, Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council , Ards and North Down Borough Council, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council , Queen's University Belfast, Ulster University, Belfast Metropolitan College, Northern Regional College, South Eastern Regional College and Southern Regional College in partnership with the UK Government and the Northern Ireland Executive to drive inclusive economic growth in the region.

The Belfast Region City Deal will see the UK Government invest £350 million into the Belfast Region, with a further co-investment of upwards of £150 million from Belfast Region City Deal partners. In May 2020 the NI Executive confirmed that it will provide match funding of £350 million towards the Belfast Region City Deal. 

The investment will help strengthen the region’s business offer in growth sectors such as life and health sciences, the digital and creative industries, and advanced manufacturing. It will also support next generation digital capabilities, boost tourism and support the regeneration of our region, underpinned by infrastructure developments and investment in skills to connect people to jobs and services.

The four pillars of the BRCD proposition include;

  • Innovation and digital 
  • Boosting tourism and supporting regeneration
  • Infrastructure development
  • Employability and skills. 

Belfast Agenda

The Belfast Agenda is the city’s first community plan. It aims to drive inclusive economic growth across the city and, consistent with the Programme for Government approach, is based on a series of prioritised outcomes. These include:

  • Everyone in Belfast benefits from a thriving and prosperous economy
  • Belfast is a welcoming, safe, fair and inclusive City for all
  • Everyone in Belfast fulfils their potential
  • Everyone in Belfast experiences good health and wellbeing; and
  • Belfast is a vibrant, attractive, connected and environmentally sustainable city.

The Belfast Agenda acknowledges that “a thriving and prosperous economy is the engine of change for our city and a critical contributor to other priorities that we wish to achieve”. Growing a diverse and inclusive economy and creating more and better jobs has consistently been the main priority raised by residents of Belfast and stakeholders across the city. The Belfast Agenda was agreed in 2017 and is currently being reviewed, with the aim of published a refreshed Belfast Agenda by March 2022.

Belfast: Our Recovery

Belfast: Our Recovery sets out Belfast City Council’s approach to driving sustained city recovery following as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic. The focus of the plan is on ensuring public safety, delivering safe and high quality public services, building business resilience, community capacity and digital innovation; investing in jobs-led growth of our key sectors and developing people’s skills.

The recovery plan has six main pillars - each helping to support our communities and economy to recover by building on our strengths and assets as a city and a wider city region. These include:

  • Our city
  • Our services
  • Our communities
  • Our economy
  • Our environment
  • Our digital innovation

The ‘Our Economy’ pillar acknowledges the importance of supporting businesses, sustaining jobs, and creating new employment opportunities within the city to build an inclusive and resilient economy. This pillar highlights how the council will invest and work with city partners to protect and create jobs and support Belfast residents to access much needed employment.

Innovation and Inclusive Growth Commission

The Innovation and Inclusive Growth Commission is a collaboration between Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour, Queen’s University, Ulster University and a number of city partners, which was set up with the goal of agreeing an ambitious economic strategy for the city.

The Commission was convened to provide an independent perspective on priority areas of action for Belfast at this critical juncture in the city’s economic history. It brings together a broad spectrum of city leaders in partnership with renowned external experts working in the field of sustainable urban development. Their aim is to make clear recommendations that could form the basis of a new economic strategy, including measures that would rapidly accelerate inclusive growth in the city for the benefit of all citizens in Belfast, the Belfast City Region and Northern Ireland.

The initial report from the Commission was published in June 2021. It sets out a series of tangible recommendations that could practically be taken on, developed, and implemented by those in government, in partnership with other city stakeholders.

These include:

  • Focusing on city renewal: more accessible, more liveable, more multi-functional
  • Driving sustainable growth: a step change to zero carbon starting with energy-efficient homes
  • Creating an intelligent future: a reputation for business innovation and a strong talent pool
  • Global Belfast: hyper-connected, globally relevant.

Inclusive Growth Strategy

The Inclusive Growth Strategy sets out Belfast City Council’s commitment to ensuring the success of the city reaches every citizen. The aim is to connect all residents with economic growth and create vibrant communities where everyone has the opportunity and aspiration to succeed. The focus is on improving life chances and therefore it is something that no single organisation or sector can deliver alone.

The strategy outlines Belfast City Council’s corporate commitments to inclusive growth including;

  • Harnessing procurement to social value
  • Increasing the capacity of our local supply market
  • Promoting inclusive growth through our role as an employer
  • Embedding an inclusive growth decision making framework
  • Continuing to prioritise poverty alleviation

The document also highlights how council will work with partners to create an inclusive city. These include:

  • Developing an inclusive growth city charter
  • Working with our growth sectors
  • Prioritising employability and skills
  • Delivering the Belfast Region City Deal
  • Promoting inclusive growth through planning powers
  • Strengthening civic voice.

Innovation City Belfast

The vision for Innovation City Belfast is to establish Belfast as a place where global excellence in innovation supports inclusive economic growth, delivers more and better jobs, and has a sustainable positive impact on our city, its citizens and the wider region.

The partnership has been formed by six of the city’s key institutions: Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour, Catalyst, Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University, with Invest Northern Ireland as an advisory partner. They are committed to delivering an ambitious long-term plan that will maximise the impact of the £1 billion Belfast Region City Deal which includes an investment of £230 million in university research centres and £120 million in digital innovation.

The priorities of the partnership are to:

  • Develop a major Innovation District from Queen’s Island to York Street
  • Delivery a city-centre focused Smart District
  • Create a Smart Port at Belfast Harbour
  • Invest in advanced wireless networks
  • Establish an Innovation Investment Service
  • Build the workforce’s skills for new jobs in the digital economy.

Smart Belfast

Developed with city partners, and led by Belfast City Council, Smart Belfast recognises the growing interconnections between the acceleration of digital innovation and its impact on our economy and on the wider agenda of the city.

The Smart Belfast framework seeks to understand these interconnections between emerging technologies, the economy and the city. And then seeks to foster the conditions that will maximise the positive impact of digital innovation while at the same time putting in place interventions that will mitigate its negative implications.

The +£55 million work programme over the coming five years includes: funding to encourage collaborative, challenge-focused innovation between SMEs, industry, universities and the public sector; Place-based innovation in the Belfast Smart District with a focus on the future of the city centre; Capacity building for citizens and other stakeholders to prepare for digital disruption and investment in next generation wireless networking and open data systems.

Section 75 category

Details of evidence/information and engagement

Religious belief

The 2011 Census indicates that 48.8 per cent of Belfast residents are from a Catholic community background and 42.5 per cent are from a Protestant and other Christian community background. Compared to the NI level, there is a slightly higher proportion of residents stating that they are of no religious persuasion (7.1 per cent, compared to 5.6 per cent regionally).

Political opinion

In May 2019, 60 Councillors, from 8 political parties were elected to Belfast City Council as follows:

  • Sinn Fein -18
  • DUP - 15
  • Alliance - 10
  • SDLP - 6
  • Green Party - 4
  • People Before Profit - 3
  • PUP - 2
  • UUP – 2

Racial group

Belfast has a higher-than-average proportion of people from ethnic minority groups compared with the rest of Northern Ireland. The largest ethnic minority groups in Belfast are the Chinese community (0.79%) and the Indian community (0.78%). The Census of 2011 highlighted that 2.85% of Belfast’s population were born in EU countries.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) published data on language use for Northern Ireland as a whole which shows the most commonly spoken languages in Belfast (excluding English and Irish) are Polish (1.22 per cent), Chinese (0.30 per cent), Tagalog/Filipino (0.24 per cent) and Slovak (0.17 per cent). 

There are also variations in terms of age group with over 50 per cent of those whose main language is not English aged between 25-44, compared with 28 per cent of those whose main language is English.

There are 7 per cent of working age population in Belfast who are born outside UK and Republic of Ireland, around 18,400 people (Census 2011). The 2011 Census shows that there is a higher than average proportion of people from a black and minority ethnic background in the Belfast City Council area: 3.64 per cent compared with 1.79 per cent in Northern Ireland. The largest minority ethnic communities are the Chinese community (0.79 per cent) and the Indian community (0.78 per cent).

Age

Belfast has a lower percentage of young people (aged under 16 years old) 18.61% than the average for Northern Ireland 20.95% and a similar percentage of older people (over 65 years old) 14.55% as the Northern Ireland average of 14.56%. 

Belfast has a growing student population with a number of new purpose built student accommodation blocks in the city centre and the new Ulster University city centre campus that will see some 15,000 students use the facilities daily.

The working age population (aged 16-64 years) make up two-thirds (66.32 per cent) of all Belfast residents.

The population aged 65 and over is projected to increase by 74.4 per cent to 498,500 people from mid-2014 to mid-2039, with the result that one in four people (24.7 per cent) will be in this age category.

In the UK, the Institute for Employment Studiesestimates there are roughly 310,000 fewer older people (especially older women) in the labour market than one would have expected if pre-crisis trends had continued. Some have become too ill to work while others have retired.

Marital status

The 2011 Census indicates that just over one third (35.6 per cent) of all usual residents in Belfast (aged 16+) are married – a relatively low proportion when compared with the Northern Ireland average (47.6 per cent). Belfast has a higher percentage (45.3 per cent) of residents who are single when compared with the Northern Ireland average (36.1 per cent). There is also a higher than average proportion of people in Belfast who are separated (5.4 per cent compared to 4 per cent NI average) and divorced/ civil partnership dissolved (6.2 per cent to 5.5 per cent NI average). Belfast also has 353 residents (0.1 per cent) who are in a registered same-sex civil partnership, 7.5 per cent are widowed/surviving partner almost a third of all such partnerships in Northern Ireland.

The table below summarises the existing data:

2011 Census Data

35.6% married

45.3% single

0.1% in a civil partnership

5.4% separated

6.2% divorced

7.5% widowed/surviving partner

Sexual orientation

ONS report that 1.2 per cent of the NI population identify themselves as LGBT3. The council currently has no data specific to Belfast. However, the Rainbow project estimates that, on the basis of national and international research, 1 in 10 people in NI would not identify as being heterosexual.

There is not currently monitoring of data on sexual orientation.

Men and women generally

Belfast has a predominantly female population (51.92% of residents). This is slightly higher than the Northern Ireland figure of 51%.

Census 2011 figures indicate that Belfast has a higher female population (52 per cent of all residents), slightly higher than the Northern Ireland average of 51 per cent. The difference is largest in the over 65 population, where 59.3 per cent of all residents are female.

Disability

Census 2011 figures show that almost one quarter (23 per cent) of Belfast residents have a long-term health problem or disability which affects their day to day activities. This is a higher proportion than the Northern Ireland average (20.1 per cent).

Over one-third of Belfast residents reported that they had a long-term condition (defined as a condition which has lasted, or is expected to last, at least 12 months). The most common conditions were mobility or dexterity difficulty (39 per cent of all those affected), pain or discomfort (34 per cent), shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (31 per cent) and emotional, psychological or mental health condition (23 per cent).

A total of 40,177 usual residents in Northern Ireland were reported to have a “learning difficulty, an intellectual difficulty, or a social or behavioural difficulty” which had lasted, or was expected to last, at least 12 months. This figure accounts for 2.22 per cent of the resident population.

1,187 adults with a learning disability were registered with the Belfast Trust in 2012/13 (GP Registers) according to the 2011 Census.

18,261 (5.47 per cent) of Belfast residence population has a hearing loss Blindness or partial sight loss according to the 2011 Census.

Sign Language Users Department for Communities – Sign Language Framework Approximately 3,500 BSL users and 1,500 ISL users living in Northern Ireland according to the Department for Communities. Census 2011 does not provide statistics including Sign Language users living in Belfast.

The Council developed a guide entitled “Inclusive Events for Disabled People”. This guide is for anyone working in, or with Belfast City Council who is involved in planning, organising, publicising or running events including meetings, markets, conferences, festivals or parades. It provides guidance in creating events that are inclusive and universally accessible.

Employment rates for people with disabilities has been consistently lower than those without disabilities in NI since 2014. The disability employment gap for NI in 2020 was 42.2pps, compared to 27.9pps for the whole of the UK. Since 2014, the disability employment gap has consistently been higher in Northern Ireland than the rest of the UK. 4

Dependants

 The 2011 Census showed that 28.57% of households in Belfast included dependent children, compared with the Northern Ireland average of 33.85%. Lone parent households were at 11.76% compared with the Northern Ireland average of 9.13%, with 92.78% of lone parents in Belfast being female.

However, there are 34,464 households with at least one child. Also, 42 per cent of adult carers are in some kind of employment. 6 per cent are self-employed full time or part-time. We do not have statistic on number of carers in Belfast however, we know that one in eight residents in NI is a carer, which implies around 40,826 people in Belfast.

The Belfast City Council Residents Survey (2014), reported that 32.3 per cent of the population have dependants or caring responsibilities.

There is at present no monitoring data on dependants.

8. What is the likely impact (indicate if the policy impact is positive or negative) on equality of opportunity for those affected by this policy, for each of the Section 75 equality categories?  What is the level of impact? 

Section 75 category

Likely impact?

Level of impact? Minor/Major/None

Religious belief

The Strategy aims to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Belfast for the period 2022-2030. It will clearly articulate the role of Belfast in the regional economy and will identify a series of key propositions to build on areas of competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global business context while ensuring that structural challenges and environmental issues are addressed, which will result in an economically dynamic city for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity for those with different religious belief.

Minor positive

Political opinion

The Strategy aims to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Belfast for the period 2022-2030. It will clearly articulate the role of Belfast in the regional economy and will identify a series of key propositions to build on areas of competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global business context while ensuring that structural challenges and environmental issues are addressed, which will result in an economically dynamic city for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity for those who represent a different political opinion.

Minor positive

Racial group

The Strategy aims to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Belfast for the period 2022-2030. It will clearly articulate the role of Belfast in the regional economy and will identify a series of key propositions to build on areas of competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global business context while ensuring that structural challenges and environmental issues are addressed, which will result in an economically dynamic city for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity for those who represent a different racial group, as they sometimes cannot access the benefits that accrue from economic growth.

Minor positive

Age

The Strategy aims to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Belfast for the period 2022-2030. It will clearly articulate the role of Belfast in the regional economy and will identify a series of key propositions to build on areas of competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global business context while ensuring that structural challenges and environmental issues are addressed, which will result in an economically dynamic city for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity for those who represent a different age. The strategy will have focus on skills and employability for both young people and those 50+.

Minor positive

Marital status

The Strategy aims to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Belfast for the period 2022-2030. It will clearly articulate the role of Belfast in the regional economy and will identify a series of key propositions to build on areas of competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global business context while ensuring that structural challenges and environmental issues are addressed, which will result in an economically dynamic city for everyone in Belfast.

None

Sexual orientation

The Strategy aims to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Belfast for the period 2022-2030. It will clearly articulate the role of Belfast in the regional economy and will identify a series of key propositions to build on areas of competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global business context while ensuring that structural challenges and environmental issues are addressed, which will result in an economically dynamic city for everyone in Belfast.

None

Men and women generally

The Strategy aims to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Belfast for the period 2022-2030. It will clearly articulate the role of Belfast in the regional economy and will identify a series of key propositions to build on areas of competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global business context while ensuring that structural challenges and environmental issues are addressed, which will result in an economically dynamic city for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity for women as data tells us they are less represented in the business growth and senior positions. The overall ambition of creating more and better jobs should benefit all residents – particularly given the focus on inclusion.

Minor positive

Disability

The Strategy aims to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Belfast for the period 2022-2030. It will clearly articulate the role of Belfast in the regional economy and will identify a series of key propositions to build on areas of competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global business context while ensuring that structural challenges and environmental issues are addressed, which will result in an economically dynamic city for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity for those who have a disability.

Minor positive

 Dependants

The Strategy aims to support sustainable and inclusive growth in Belfast for the period 2022-2030. It will clearly articulate the role of Belfast in the regional economy and will identify a series of key propositions to build on areas of competitive advantage in a rapidly changing global business context while ensuring that structural challenges and environmental issues are addressed, which will result in an economically dynamic city for everyone in Belfast.

There is potential for minor positive impact relevant to the equality of opportunity for those who have a dependent.

Minor positive

9. Are there opportunities to better promote equality of opportunity for people within the Section 75 equalities categories?

Section 75 category

If Yes, provide details

If No, provide reasons

Religious belief

The strategy will focus on improving the local economy and quality of life for all those that live, work and visit the city, which will help strengthen Belfast’s economy and improve quality of life in general.

There is an opportunity to increase the targeting of people from a different religious background/belief.

We will continue to review feedback to consider options to better promote equality of opportunity. We can also keep this under constant review as we build a strong candidate profile so we can track under-representation from certain groups and take remedial action to address this.

 

Political opinion

The strategy will focus on improving the local economy and quality of life for all those that live, work and visit the city.

There is an opportunity to increase the targeting of people from a range of political backgrounds.

We will continue to review feedback to consider options to better promote equality of opportunities.

 

Racial group

The strategy will focus on improving the local economy and quality of life for all those that live, work and visit the city.

There is an opportunity to increase the targeting of people from a range of racial groups.

We will continue to review feedback to consider options to better promote equality of opportunities. We can also keep this under constant review as we build a strong candidate profile so we can track under-representation from certain groups and take remedial action to address this.

 

Age

The strategy will focus on improving the local economy and quality of life for all those that live, work and visit the city.

There is an opportunity to increase the targeting of people from a range of different ages.

We will continue to review feedback to consider options to better promote equality of opportunities. We can also keep this under constant review as we build a strong candidate profile so we can track under-representation from certain groups and take remedial action to address this.

 

Marital status

The strategy will focus on improving the local economy and quality of life for all those that live, work and visit the city.

There is an opportunity to increase the targeting of people from a range of marital status.

We will continue to review feedback to consider options to better promote equality of opportunities.

 

Sexual orientation

The strategy will focus on improving the local economy and quality of life for all those that live, work and visit the city.

There is an opportunity to increase the targeting of people from a range of sexual orientations.

We will continue to review feedback to consider options to better promote equality of opportunities.

 

Men and women generally

The strategy will focus on improving the local economy and quality of life for all those that live, work and visit the city.

There is an opportunity to increase the targeting of people from different genders, especially women as they are often less represented.

We will continue to review feedback to consider options to better promote equality of opportunities.

 

Disability

The strategy will focus on improving the local economy and quality of life for all those that live, work and visit the city.

There is an opportunity to increase the targeting of people who have a disability.

We will continue to review feedback to consider options to better promote equality of opportunities. We can also keep this under constant review as we build a strong candidate profile so we can track under-representation from certain groups and take remedial action to address this.

 

 Dependants

The strategy will focus on improving the local economy and quality of life for all those that live, work and visit the city.

There is an opportunity to increase the targeting of people who have dependents.

We will continue to review feedback to consider options to better promote equality of opportunities.

 

10. To what extent is the policy likely to impact (positive or negatively) on good relations between people of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group? What is the level of impact?  

Good relations category Likely impact? Level of impact? Minor/Major/None
Religious belief Economic development ensures an inclusive welcoming and culturally vibrant city. The strategy will enable creation of more jobs and upskilling more people regardless of religious belief, thus with a minor potential impact between those of a different religious belief. Minor positive
Political opinion Economic development ensures an inclusive welcoming and culturally vibrant city. The strategy will enable creation of more jobs and upskilling more people regardless of political opinion, thus with a minor potential impact between those of a different political opinion. Minor positive
Racial group Economic development ensures an inclusive welcoming and culturally vibrant city. The strategy will enable creation of more jobs and upskilling more people regardless of racial group, thus with a minor potential impact between those of different religious racial groups. Minor positive

11. Are there opportunities to better promote good relations between people of different religious belief, political opinion or racial group?   

Good relations category If Yes, provide details If No, provide reasons
Religious belief The Strategy will focus on delivering an Economic Strategy that will support sustainability and Inclusive Growth in Belfast. This could improve good relations between those of different religious beliefs.  
Political opinion The Strategy will focus on delivering an Economic Strategy that will support sustainability and Inclusive Growth in Belfast. This could improve good relations between those of different political opinion.  
Racial group The Strategy will focus on delivering an Economic Strategy that will support sustainability and Inclusive Growth in Belfast. This could improve good relations between those of different racial groups.  

Section C

Belfast City Council also has legislative obligations to meet under the Disability Discrimination Order and Questions 12-13 relate to these two areas.

Consideration of Disability Duties

12. Does this proposed policy / decision provide an opportunity for the Council to better promote positive attitudes towards disabled people?

Yes. The needs of disabled people will be addressed during consultation process. Various disability groups will be targeted, to ensure inclusion of both people with physical and mental disability. Learning and feedback will be documented in the final screening and will be used to inform the final Economic Strategy. We will also take on board the recent findings of the research report on Disabilities within the Northern Ireland Labour Market published by DfC in April 2022 and ensure that we learn from the positive examples of good practice and set in place appropriate targets to improve performance.

13. Does this proposed policy / decision provide an opportunity to actively increase the participation by disabled people in public life?

Yes. The needs of disabled people will be addressed during consultation process. Various disability groups will be targeted, to ensure inclusion of both people with physical and mental disability. Learning and feedback will be used to inform and shape the final Economic Strategy. Any specific needs will be addressed through the implementation plans and future programmes and aligned to wider government interventions, as identified through the research referenced above.

14. Multiple Identities. Provide details of data on the impact of the policy with multiple identities

Provide details of data on the impact of the policy with multiple identities

Based on the research available it is likely that those who are female, black and ethnic minorities, if they have a disability and/or caring responsibilities are more likely to face increased barriers to participation. 

In addition, the cumulative impact of multiple sources of disadvantage – low incomes, benefit dependency, low skills levels and qualifications – are likely to combine together to impact on an individual’s capacity to participate in employment and upskilling opportunities. The intersection between economic hardship and identity will continue to be explored.

This information helps to inform the design of future design and implementation plan of this emerging Economic Strategy.

Specify relevant Section 75 categories concerned.

15. Monitoring Arrangements

Section 75 places a requirement the Council to have equality monitoring arrangements in place in order to assess the impact of policies and services etc; and to help identify barriers to fair participation and to better promote equality of opportunity. 

Outline what data you will collect in the future in order to monitor the impact of this policy / decision on equality, good relations and disability duties.

Equality  Good Relations Disability Duties
Information will be collated by delivery partners and reported to Belfast City Council on an annual basis in any economic development activity. This will be reviewed and updated to address data gaps as they emerge. Consistent monitoring forms for all our programmes to record section 75 data of the participants. Information will be collated by delivery partners and reported to Belfast City Council on an annual basis. The delivery plan will be reviewed where gaps emerge.

Number of delivery agents using the Council’s Inclusive Events Guide.

Take-up levels of the support services available to support participation Information will be collated by delivery partners and reported to Belfast City Council on an annual basis. 

Number of participants engaging with council support services, particularly labour market support interventions.


Section D

Formal Record of Screening Decision

Title of Proposed Policy / Decision being screened

 Draft Economic Strategy (2022-2030)

I can confirm that the proposed policy / decision has been screened for –

  • equality of opportunity and good relations
  • disabilities duties

On the basis of the answers to the screening questions, I recommend that this policy / decision is – (place an X in the appropriate box below)

   
  *Screened In – Necessary to conduct a full EQIA
 

*Screened Out – No EQIA necessary (no impacts)

Provide a brief note here to explain how this decision was reached:

X

* Screened Out - Mitigating Actions (minor impacts)

  • Provide a brief note here to explain how this decision was reached:
  •  Explain what mitigating actions and / or policy changes will now be introduced:
    • Active inclusion of disability groups, young people, older people, women and ethnic minorities during consultation process.
    • Ensuring that the feedback shapes the final Economic Strategy and associated implementation plan.
    • Ensure that the implementation plan addresses the needs of specific Section 75 categories
    • Inclusion of the VCSE Community Planning panel in consultation and co-design of the implementation plan
    • Monitor Section 75 clients and participants and keep under constant review to ensure effective targeting and progress against objectives. 

 

Screening assessment completed by (Officer Level)

Name: Jelena Buick                                            
Date: 4 July 2022
Department: BRDU

Screening decision approved by 

Name: Lisa Toland                                                     
Date: 11 July 2022
Department: Place and Economy

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