Some of the country’s most senior political figures have pledged their support to the campaign to help bridge the North-South divide after mounting pressure to set out a clear vision for re-balancing Britain’s economy.
Responding to the urgent call from 33 of the North’s leading newspapers, including The Yorkshire Post, Tory leadership candidates were swift to offer their support for the Power Up The North collaboration.
The collective voice to dramatically bolster the North’s economy was launched yesterday, with calls for a bespoke industrial strategy, a clear vision for affordable housing and extra investment in schools.
The campaign is also calling for devolved decision-making and an overhaul of the transport network with a renewed focus on Northern Powerhouse Rail, making it a national priority.
Of those in the running to replace Theresa May in Downing Street, Rochdale-born Sajid Javid led the charge to address the concerns raised.
In a letter to the newspapers, the Home Secretary wrote: “The campaigning newspapers of the North made one combined call to a Westminster that can seem out of touch and remote - to power up the North. I hear you. And if I’m Prime Minister, I will.”
Other leadership hopefuls who gave their backing include Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and former Cabinet Minister Andrea Leadsom. Mr Hunt said he would “turbo-charge economic growth right across the country” and promised to “deliver HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail”.
He added: “Connecting the great cities of the North is crucial so that the original vision for the Northern Powerhouse, to create a single joined up market and labour force, becomes a reality.”
Ms Leadsom said that she would unleash the “true potential of the North” by investing “significantly more in rail and road infrastructure”.
Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry also backed the collective effort, saying: “The Power Up The North campaign is exactly what we need - showcasing the North’s great ambition and potential, and what can be achieved with the right support. As Northern Powerhouse Minister, I fully back this campaign.”
However, the widespread support from leading Tories was dismissed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said: “This failing Conservative government is drastically out of touch with people’s lives...Labour will reverse years of chronic under-funding in the North.”