The Yorkshire Post says: North reality check – time for the Government to turbo-charge the Powerhouse

Has the Northern Powerhouse agenda stalled under Theresa May?
Has the Northern Powerhouse agenda stalled under Theresa May?
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THE ANNUAL State of the North report makes a number of constructive points about the future of this region that complement the current debate about rail services.

The IPPR North think-tank wants a clearer focus on quality of life issues nearly five years after George Osborne, the then Chancellor, unveiled the then pioneering Northern Powerhouse agenda.

It wants more policy attention given to the region’s towns and villages – and it backs the transfer of even more devolved powers from the Government to local areas.

Yet, while the Cabinet minister James Brokenshire has now promised to “reflect” on the One Yorkshire devolution agenda that he, and colleagues, have been blocking, much of the impasse stems from the stance taken by Theresa May and her team when she became Prime Minister in July 2016.

Instead of developing the Northern Powerhouse initiative, she allowed her policy chiefs Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill to marginalise this agenda because of grievances with Mr Osborne.

And while Mrs May did offer a commitment of sorts during her calamitous party conference speech in 2017 when she endured a coughing fit, and other mishaps, the Government has become so sidetracked by Brexit that there is no policy momentum or co-ordination.

Until this changes, and The Yorkshire Post has called in the past for a high-profile Northern Powerhouse Minister to be appointed to the Cabinet to fight for this region, then opportunities across the North will continue be squandered – and to the detriment of the rest of the UK.