Business editor Luke Dicicco looks at what is in store now the New Year is underway.

BUSINESSPEOPLE are a confident breed. And many in the North are striding into 2020 full of beans in spite of the ongoing economic uncertainty that has gripped the country for so long.

It does appear to be a strange contrast.

Business leaders I have spoken to are, in the main, bright and breezy about the prospects for the year ahead set against the backdrop of Brexit – and whatever flavour we get – and a global economy that is being battered about by the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

Why is confidence up in the North? Because it is payback time.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid has promised an infrastructure spending spree to help the “left behind” parts of the UK when he delivers his budget in March.

For “left behind” read the North – and the Midlands.

The two regions that need to be carefully looked after given the massive IOU the Government owes them for putting them in power.

The sweeping manner of the Conservative election victory in December may have been a surprise to many, particularly in the south.

As it transpired the “Workington Man” – that pretty demeaning caricature used by a think tank to describe the disaffected Northern voter living in down at heel industrial towns who, well, felt left behind – won the day.

The promise of “getting Brexit done” delivered over, and over – and over again – and targeted at areas that had overwhelmingly voted Leave, clearly got through.

The bullish promises to finally close the North-South socioeconomic divide by Boris Johnson, Mr Javid and countless other high-ranking Tories ahead of voters going to the polls clearly resonated.

The emphasis on action won out over Labour’s ambitious (a bit too ambitious for the likes of Openreach) but often ambiguous pledges. Die-hard areas that had always put their faith in Labour switched allegiances.

The Government is now beholden to the North.

So, we can now look forward to plenty of investment in road and rail infrastructure, including links to a fully delivered HS2 (it needs to happen but not at any cost) and the Northern Powerhouse Rail scheme (a cake iced with the sacking of Northern and a good hiding for TransPennine Express for their failures).

Significant improvements to digital connectivity would also be very welcome.

There will be heaps of funding support for skills and education so the North can finally, and more uniformly, give its young people the best possible chance to succeed.

There will be some clarity for industries, particularly the energy sector, that allows, rather than hinders development. The North is crucial to keeping the lights on and meeting that lofty carbon net zero target.

And we can get the much-desired devolution deals for those areas yet to taste it – areas that really have been left behind.

In theory, the Northern Powerhouse’s job should now be easy. With so many MPs from the ruling party now in the region it should pack a lot more punch than before now the majority singing off the same hymnsheet.

More widely, the party that often sells itself as the “party of the business” would do well to heed the demands by the likes of the British Chambers of Commerce, CBI and Institute of Directors, by slashing red tape, supporting SMEs, putting its elbow behind efforts to boost productivity. Those practical things that businesses have been banging on about for so long but have been conveniently ignored amid the mayhem of Brexit.

Businesses in the North are hungry. They will be licking their lips at the prospect of a Government with a majority and with real clout to get things done.

The proof of the pudding, as always, is in the eating.

It really would be political suicide for a Conservative government to bite the hand of the very people who have given them their mandate.

Mr Johnson and his team have a lot to get through – both at home and in Europe – and an awful lot of people to keep happy.

But the priority needs to be the millions of people living, working and doing business in the North.

Best to dig out that chequebook and pen. The North is calling.

If it doesn’t happen, well, the payback will be serious.