Osborne set to launch Northern Powerhouse Partnership

The Northern Powerhouse vision will be promoted by a new partnership, launched by former chancellor George Osborne.

The Northern Powerhouse was one of the flagship policies of Osborne’s time in Number 11, with devolution deals granted to several northern cities.

Supporters of the project have feared it will be undermined by economic uncertainty following the EU Referendum and prime minister Theresa May’s decision to replace Osborne with Philip Hammond as chancellor.

But May recently expressed her support for northern devolution in an article for the Yorkshire Post, and Andrew Percy, the new Northern Powerhouse minister, pledged the government’s continued backing for the initiative.

Writing in The Sun, Osborne said it was great that Theresa May "recommitted her government to the vision we set out".

However, he added that the Northern Powerhouse should be “a team effort” and “owned by the north, driven from the north, for the north”.

Therefore, Osborne announced that he would chair the Northern Powerhouse Partnership in his capacity as MP for Tatton in Cheshire.

He said the partnership, a not-for-profit organisation designed to supply ideas to help promote growth in the region, was supported by businesses and both Labour and Conservative civic leaders.

Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, said: “This government realises the huge untapped potential of our great northern towns and cities.

“That is why I warmly welcome the launch of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

“I hope it will become an important part of the debate and help us to do all we can to further boost jobs, growth and opportunities in the north of England.”

However, Javid announced last week that he is withdrawing the north east devolution deal after it was rejected by local councils, despite continued support from the North East Combined Authority.

The Sheffield devolution deal is also being challenged by Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire councils.

(Image c. Christopher Furlong from PA Wire)

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