The Northern Echo is today joining forces with fellow publishers across the north to call for candidates in the general election to commit to a specific manifesto drawn up by regional leaders. Here are some of the key demands.


Local control of education and training, skills provision that is systematically connected to the North’s businesses and growth needs, creating opportunity for all our people. The North has the opportunity and ambition to:

  • Adopt Good Employment Charters by setting a common definition of good work for the whole of the North and encouraging more employers to commit to high standards.
  • Close skills gaps and shortages by linking local provision to local opportunities, working with businesses and providers to be world-leading in creating a vocational and technical education system in the North.
  • Promote better support systems and networks for good physical and mental health in the workplace, for lifelong learning and reskilling older generations, for young people looking to apply for top universities, to enable dialogue between young people and businesses and for those with special educational needs and disabilities, so that children can learn and teachers can teach.

To achieve this, we need government to: Give places the freedom to match education and skills provision to local opportunities and support teachers and learners; Invest in cultural education, supporting the broader development of young people during their studies; Maintain its commitment to delivering a high performing technical education system, delivering parity of funding and esteem between vocational and academic routes.


A commitment to rebalancing the economy as a formal HM Treasury objective, delivering transformational investment to power up the North, a formal commitment to rebalancing in the Green Book, and Office for Budget Responsibility measurement of progress towards this objective.


A transport budget for the North, enabling full delivery of the Transport for the North plan and supporting the devolution of control and shared accountability for the region’s rail network. The North has the opportunity and ambition to:

  • Back a ‘new deal for rail’, with commitment to HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and make the case for devolved control of transport systems to our places to enable London-style transport management.
  • Prioritise improvements for passenger and freight rail users to deliver transformative growth, ensuring rail services are accountable and user focused.
  • Adopt new technologies to support a greener, cleaner economy, by backing clean air zones, and climate-proofing new transport development plans.
  • Back local control of bus services, seizing opportunities from the Bus Services Act to deliver better last mile bus services for our communities.

To achieve this, we need government to: Fund a Northern Budget for transport alongside long-term local transport budgets; provide a ‘new deal for rail’, with commitment to HS2 and NPR; devolve control of transport systems, with revenue subsidy to support attempts to set up expanded, extensive and better funded bus services; help encourage transformational investments and support as a priority low carbon public transport; provide financial support to assist drivers and small businesses to switch to greener alternatives.


Ownership of, and freedom to lead, investment and trade activities to drive export-led growth, with a greater scale of investment to level up the North’s export and inward investment activities. The North has the opportunity and ambition to:

  • Create a framework for collaboration at a pan-Northern level, pursuing long-term collaboration across administrative and sectoral boundaries, led by a Trade and Investment Leadership Board established in partnership with Government.

To achieve this we need the government to: Embed the North in existing activity through Northern Powerhouse ‘proofing’ future UK trade deals, inviting Northern localities to participate in more trade missions, and improving the statistical data available; provide the North with additional ownership of, and freedom to lead, investment and trade; establish a performance management framework to attract investment and trade; provide a framework for investment that aligns with the priorities of the Northern Powerhouse Independent Economic Review, sets clear export targets, and prioritise best fit investment and trade activity.


Backing the North to lead the green industrial revolution, harnessing and investing in its prime capability in renewable energy, decarbonising industry, retrofitting existing housing stock and building new homes to the highest standards. The North has the opportunity and ambition to:

  • Pioneer zero-carbon energy, building on its diverse energy strengths to become the primary zero-carbon energy provider for the UK.
  • Reduce energy consumption, prioritising action on low-efficiency homes and buildings, particularly in our most deprived communities and the promotion of low carbon heating, cooling and process efficiencies in energy intensive business, to become smart users of energy.
  • Transition industry to low carbon goods, services and processes.

To achieve this we need the government to: Deliver clear, consistent and stable energy policy, publishing an Energy White Paper which sets out national frameworks and commits to a timescale for decarbonisation of the grid; back a flexible, regional approach to energy innovation and regulation to allow the North to lead the low carbon energy revolution.