THE Power Up the North collaboration has been praised for shining a light on the urgent need to boost the region’s economy, as the Government’s commitment to closing the North-South divide is put under scrutiny.

Praise for the collaboration between The Northern Echo and news publishers across the North, including rivals JPI Media and Reach, came from chair of the influential Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, Rachel Reeves, as it met on Wednesday to examine the Government’s support for business and its efforts to attract inward investment in the North.

The enquiry is being held as the Northern Powerhouse, which is charged with driving the transformation of the Northern economy, marks its five-year anniversary.

Ms Reeves, who is MP for Leeds West, said: “Five years on from establishing the Northern Powerhouse, the time is right to carry out a health-check on the Government’s efforts to attract finance and investment to the North.

“The Government’s Industrial Strategy needs to go beyond big ideas and help turbocharge productivity and growth throughout the UK.

“The Power Up the North campaign has shone a light on the urgency of addressing the North-South divide and the need to get on with the policies and actions to truly capitalise on the talents of the people across the North.”

The Power Up The North collaboration is calling for drastic action from the Government and all major political parties to “reverse decades of under-investment in key services” in the region.

It has demanded detailed plans from all major parties on everything from a bespoke Industrial Strategy for the North, to transport investment, including making Northern Powerhouse Rail a national priority, to extra investment in the region’s colleges and universities to boost skills along with more devolved powers.

It has received the backing of prominent businesspeople, the Institute of Directors and Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, and politicians including Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership – which brings together leading business figures and politicians along with major players including former chancellor George Osborne, said: “Devolving further power and control to regions of the North could have a transformational effect.”