Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak have made their pitch to the North, with both pledging extra cash for schools and transport and the devolution of more powers to local leaders if they win the race to Number 10.

The commitments come after newspapers across the North, including The Northern Echo, united to warn the former Chancellor and Foreign Secretary not to "turn their back" on the region once in Downing Street.

It followed reports that the levelling up agenda, which was a key promise at the 2019 general election, could be shelved after Boris Johnson's departure.

Read more: 'Don't turn your back on the North' - Northern Echo joins campaign urging PM candidates to deliver on levelling up

The candidates, along with Labour's shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy, were invited to answer five key questions facing our region by The Northern Echo and the Northern Agenda this week.

It comes as Mr Sunak and Ms Truss prepare to debate each other at a regional hustings in Leeds, one of three events in the North to help Tory members decide who they want to back as the next Prime Minister.

All three politicians acknowledged the issues, whether child poverty or low productivity, but there was a varying level of detail when explaining how they would be addressed.

Mr Sunak emphasised the fact he is a Northern MP and said he would "keep the North front centre of my mind in all that I do" if he were to become PM in September.

Read more: What Rishi Sunak would do for the North East if he became Prime Minister

The Northern Echo: Rishi SunakRishi Sunak

He said he would "double down" on levelling up and identified education as a key area which could boost the region's economy.

The Richmond MP also pledged to "work with local leaders on what the future of transport looks like in the North", something which was sorely lacking when it came to the cut-price Northern Powerhouse Rail plan unveiled last year.

Ms Truss meanwhile backed calls for a "levelling up formula", similar to the Barnett Formula used to distribute cash in Scotland as a means to ensure "areas that have been left behind get the support they deserve".

Read more: What Liz Truss would do for the North East if she became Prime Minister

The Northern Echo: Liz TrussLiz Truss

The Foreign Secretary also said she would roll out low tax "Investment Zones" across the region to attract private investment and outlined a series of tax cuts to ease the cost of living crisis in the short term.

Both candidates committed to retaining a Government department responsible for tackling regional inequalities with a Cabinet-level minister for whom this is their main job.

Lisa Nandy meanwhile outlined Labour’s offer to the region, saying her party in power would invest £280bn over a decade to close the North/South divide.

Read more: What Lisa Nandy says Labour would do for the North East if they got into power

The Northern Echo: Lisa NandyLisa Nandy

To address the cost of living crisis, the Wigan MP said Labour would uprate benefits, cut VAT on energy bills, scrap leasehold charges and “put rocket boosters” under the home insulation programme to cut bills.

Ms Nandy also said in office she would “end the Hunger Games-style grants” that force local authorities to compete for small pots of cash and instead give leaders the tools to have “financial autonomy”.

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