New think-tank the Northern Policy Foundation hopes to help Boris Johnson "rebuild and reshape the North"
The Northern Policy Foundation, set up by Tom Lees and Dr Sean Worth, two former government advisers, has a Parliamentary Council which includes Wakefield MP Imran Khan, Don Valley's Nick Fletcher and Rother Valley's Alexander Stafford.
Its formation comes months after the Conservatives swept to a majority in the 2019 General Election by winning 28 seats from Labour, many of which had been held for decades, across the North.
Those involved hope to provide further impetus to the 'Northern Powerhouse' agenda which was largely sidelined under Theresa May's premiership but has been embraced by Boris Johnson under the banner of 'levelling up'.
Director Tom Lees, the former Global Head of Corporate Affairs at construction consultancy Mace, said: “Now is the time to rebuild and re-shape the North to provide more and better opportunities for local people, tackle poor health outcomes and poverty, bolster and support science, innovation and R&D and to ensure the North’s economy comes back stronger after the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Overcoming centuries old disparities and levelling-up will be a challenge, but with the right policy interventions and support from central government I know my fellow Northerners are up for the challenge and making real progress.”
The Northern Policy Foundation described itself as the only centre-right think tank based in the North, sitting alongside IPPR North and the recently-formed Policy Yorkshire as advocates for the region.
Wakefield MP Imran Ahmad Khan, said: “Ensuring that opportunity and prosperity are spread across the North of England, Yorkshire and Wakefield is crucial to the success of the United Kingdom as a whole, our post-COVID-19 economic recovery and for seizing the new opportunities presented by Brexit.
"The Northern Policy Foundation will bring together new Conservative MPs from across the
Northern Powerhouse and leading thinkers to contribute to and influence government decision making to improve the lives of our constituents and communities across the North.”
Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher said: "I am excited by the Northern Policy Foundation’s launch and am confident that it will have a positive impact on our region’s economy.
"Levelling up the country means giving Northerners the same chance as people in the rest of the country to own a home, go to university, and have a fulfilling career in the place we grew up.
"We have a challenging but exciting road ahead of us, and I am confident that the Northern Policy Foundation will help every step of the way.”