Osborne to chair Northern Powerhouse think tank

Former Chancellor George Osborne is set to a chair a new think tank aimed at progressing the Northern Powerhouse plan.

The Northern Powerhouse plan involves devolving powers and funds to northern city regions, improving transport links and creating new regional mayors to drive an economy in the north of England which can rival those of London and the South East.

In an interview with the Sun, Osborne said: “We can't just expect Whitehall to do it all. It has to be a team effort.”

After being removed from the cabinet following Theresa May’s appointment as Prime Minister, Osborne said the Northern Powerhouse partnership would ‘now be a major focus of [his] political energies’.

The board of the organisation will include business figures from across the north of England, as well as political figures to ensure city leaders are represented. It will aim to ‘maintain the momentum of the Northern Powerhouse’ and provide ‘innovative ideas, sharing examples of national and international best practice’.

Ed Cox, director of the Institute of Public Policy Research North said: "It remains to be seen whether this new think tank will develop an inclusive approach to the northern economy because, to date, George Osborne's Northern Powerhouse has been too narrowly focused on big cities and metro mayors.

"Vital as these are, they will not address the economic and social challenges raised by the Brexit vote."

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