George Osborne launches new think tank to promote Northern Powerhouse

George Obsorne. Credit: PA

Former chancellor George Osborne will launch a new think-tank today 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 as chancellor, was sacked by new Prime Minister Theresa May, and is now out of the cabinet.

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

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 aneast-west version, HS3, linking the belt of northern cities from Liverpool toHull, via Manchester and Leeds.

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

Mr Osborne, now a Tory backbencher, will today launch the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, claiming: "The Northern Powerhouse is here to stay."

Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said:

Ed Cox, director of Institute of Public Policy Research North (IPPR North),said:

Mr Osborne will launch the new body at a press conference in Manchester later today.