A BOLD new vision for the North of England has been unveiled by community leaders and key figures from the world of commerce to address existing inequalities across the country.

The Manifesto for the North includes important policy requests for the next Government, outlining "game changing" ambitions for clean growth, devolution, transport, education, investment and trade.

The first of its kind, the manifesto will be presented to the Conservatives, Labour Party, and Liberal Democrats, as a unified vision for how the North’s full potential can be unleashed. It follows the launch of a campaign earlier in the year, backed by The Northern Echo, challenging Britain’s main political parties to commit to policy measures to turbo-charge the North’s economy.

Power Up The North is an ongoing collaboration between newspapers and websites from JPI Media, Newsquest and Reach to redress economic disparity across the country.

The five-point plan has been produced by the Convention of the North and NP11, a group of all 11 Northern Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The aim is to represent the North’s business drive and collective political will to influence major changes across a range of policy areas, from skills and education, to housing, transport, innovation, trade and investment, and clean growth.

Roger Marsh, chairman of the NP11, said: “Our region led the first Industrial Revolution and today it can become the crucible for the fourth, and first sustainable, industrial revolution, but only if we take critical action now. This Manifesto for the North sets out the direction that we need to take, and marks the North coming together with one voice to tell the incoming Government what our ambition is for a thriving Northern Powerhouse.

“Our message to all political parties is clear; the North is ready to lead the transformation required for net zero 2050, enhanced productivity and a truly inclusive Great Britain. We stand united as a region.

“For the benefit of our future of generations, we ask the next Government, and politicians of all political persuasions to work with us and ensure this plan is every success that it deserves to be.”

The manifesto was produced after the Convention for the North with NP11 event, in Rotherham in September.

Business leaders, education providers, politicians, youth groups and charities, came together to discuss and debate the key policy priorities that will enable a prosperous Northern economy.

Nick Forbes, chairman of the Convention and leader of Newcastle City Council, said: “Our North is one made up of many different and distinct places, but by working together like this we have shown we are a powerful region which is prepared to speak with a one voice and do what is needed to create opportunity for the future.

The Northern Echo:

“We are united in our shared belief that the North is central to the rebuilding of the UK.

“By coming together on a cross-geography and cross-party basis we have proven that our ambition for our communities transcends traditional boundaries.

“We need the next government to be on our side. If they are prepared to commit to our game changing manifesto we are clearly read to deliver.”

Hannah Chapman, editor of The Northern Echo, said: “Rebalancing the economy is not a new demand – The Northern Echo called for David Cameron to make it a key pledge during the 2010 election, but since then, the North-South divide has grown wider.

“Instead of warm words from our political candidates, we urgently need real commitment to, and investment for, the points in this manifesto.

“There must also be a wider recognition that, although we speak with one voice in backing this document, different areas of the north have their own specific challenges, and opportunities, which must be given equal weight by those seeking our votes.”

Meanwhile, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership is calling on Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn and Jo Swinson to each pledge to come to the North to make a keynote speech addressing the critical issues that matter to the 15 million people living here.

The partnership’s director, Henri Murison said: “If we are to close the North-South divide and rebalance the UK economy, as a business-led organisation we understand that the political parties in this election must truly deliver a Northern Powerhouse, capturing a trillion pound economic gain for the country over the coming decades.

“On transport, we need the next government to commit to build both HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail in full.

“On devolution, we need to see 100 per cent coverage across every area of the North and a fundamental shift in decision-making out of Whitehall to Northern communities, cities and towns.

“On education, we need the next government to commit an extra £1bn to Northern schools to tackle disadvantage; the most significant barrier to the educational attainment of our children.

“On clean growth, we need an Industrial Strategy for the North to power the UK economy and lead the net-zero target for the UK, focusing in particular on energy, manufacturing Small Modular Reactors here, leading the way on carbon capture and storage and de-carbonising heat.

“This election cannot be and must not be purely about Brexit. It must also be about the transformational chance to rebalance the UK.”