THE Naked Chef may have been jumping for joy but this Budget will strip to the bone the spending powers of cash-strapped northern councils and rob them of control over schools.

Jamie Oliver praised the government for a "profound move" as George Osborne announced he will be imposing a sugary drinks tax in a bid to cut obesity.

The Irn Brew Chancellor’s attack on purveyors of pop delighted the nation’s most famous celebrity chef who has campaigned for a levy on soft drinks firms in the past.

It was smart, headline-grabbing, stuff, but "profound" – do me a favour Jamie this was pure froth.

The tax, which could raise about £500m for school sports, is likely to have minimal impact on the health of young people who will soon be forced to pay a premium for their favourite super sweet beverage. But as the one real nugget of new detail in a Budget that for the past week had leaked all over the press like a shaken-up pop bottle it was a typical piece of Osborne cunning.

The Chancellor has become adept at spilling in advance details of his more controversial plans, such as forcing all schools to become academies, so that when Budget day comes news editors are desperate for a fresh line.

As a decoy tactic the sugar tax worked a treat but it will soon turn flat as the impact of Osborne’s more important measures filter through.

He started yesterday’s speech at the despatch box like a character in Act One of a Shakespearean tragedy, with mutterings of gathering storm clouds, buffeting headwinds and dangerous forces abroad. This again was classic Osborne, paving the way for the inevitable advice that the only way to cure our debt-ridden economy (which he has signally failed to balance) is by swallowing more foul-tasting medicine.

Another £3.5 billion of spending cuts are on their way which will mean the axe will fall on yet more northern jobs and services.

This came on the same day the unemployment figures showed our region’s jobless rate was twice that of the South East and way above the national average. How we can bear more losses is anyone’s guess.

Sweet treats were in short supply particularly for the Chancellor’s beloved Northern Powerhouse which in theory includes the North-East, but in practice is focussed primarily on Manchester and the North West. They will benefit from the super fast HS3 rail line, improvements to the M62, and the Chancellor even confirmed new powers over the criminal justice system for Greater Manchester leaders in another wave of devolution for that area. The new deal will give Manchester’s leaders influence over youth offending, probation and prison services - including over the future of prison buildings and where they are located.

In the meantime, the North-East can look forward to another feasibility study into dualling the A66 and A69. Anyone who has driven the length of these roads will know they are riddled with blackspots and blockages that should have been tackled years ago. We have suffered delays for far too long.

There are vague plans for HS3 to one day in the distant future to come as far as County Durham and Newcastle but no cash has been set aside to make this happen.

Manchester’s council leaders have led the way in adopting the Northern Powerhouse agenda with gusto. By giving them the lion’s share of devolved powers and spending pots the Chancellor is sending out a clear message to the rest of the north – fall in line, get yourself a combined authority and appoint a mayor, or you’ll be feeding on scraps for the foreseeable future.

The imposition of metro mayors, like the school academy system, is being driven by the Treasury which now uses the Budget to propel the Government's political agenda. Its traditional role of outlining how the Chancellor will manage the economy is rapidly becoming less important.

This was an unashamedly political Budget. On the one hand Osborne was positioning himself as the driving force behind a party he expects to lead before too long.

And he even had the confidence to use it as a tool to warn Scotland to shelve any ideas of splitting away from the Union and also back the EU IN campaign.

He will have infuriated Tory backbenchers by using his platform to warn of the risks of leaving the European Union, dragging in the supposedly politically neutral independent Office for Budget Responsibility, saying it agreed with him that Brexit would generate significant "uncertainty".

This was bold stuff and further evidence Osborne holds the whip hand in this Government and he isn’t afraid to use it to ward off challengers such as Boris Johnson.

"This is a Budget for the next generation," the Chancellor insisted, but it was also about hammering home the message that he intends to be a political force for the long term.