George Osborne to launch Northern Powerhouse think-tank in Manchester

Former chancellor and Tatton MP George Osborne

Former chancellor and Tatton MP George Osborne will launch a new think-tank today in Manchester amid fears his "Northern Powerhouse" project is losing steam.

Mr Osborne will launch and chair the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, an independent group, including politicians and business leaders, to help push the agenda of greater powers and investment for the regions to boost jobs and growth.

But the "Northern Powerhouse" initiative, launched by Mr Osborne in 2014, is now being questioned.

Mr Osborne, who championed the idea in his tenure as chancellor, was sacked by new Prime Minister Theresa May, and is now out of the cabinet.

And Mrs May has spoken of a broader "proper" industrial strategy, nationwide, rather than a regional focus solely on the north.

And senior Labour politicians in the north have recently spoken of Whitehall briefings casting doubt on the new Prime Minister's commitment to the agenda.

The Northern Powerhouse aims to devolve powers and money from Whitehall to northern city regions in a bid to boost their economic performance.

Plans included new investment in north-south high-speed rail, HS2, and an east-west version, HS3, linking the belt of northern cities from Liverpool to Hull, via Manchester and Leeds.

The plans also included the election of 'metro' mayors for bigger city-regions, including for Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield.