NORTHERN leaders will today join together to call for a "seismic shift" in funding and powers to 'level up' the North.

The Convention of the North is taking place in Sheffield today and there will be a rallying cry for a jointly agreed Northern Powerhouse Strategy -  a Manifesto for the North which will set out clearly what the North is asking of its own people, as well as from Government.

The aim is to set out actions and ideas that could - if agreed by leaders of the North and backed by Government and business - lead to revolutionary change for Northern England and the Northern Powerhouse agenda.    

In a speech to be delivered at the summit, Roger Marsh OBE, chair of the NP11 which brings together the 11 Northern Local Enterprise Partnerships will outline why the North must be placed front and centre of Government plans for UK competitiveness and prosperity beyond Brexit.  

It will also look at how Northern leaders can build on recent successful campaigns - including the Northern media’s ‘Power Up the North’ and ‘One North’ campaigns - to make lasting changes.

Key policy proposals include:

  • Creating a coherent Northern Powerhouse strategy, designed and led by the North –working with Government to ensure the strategy runs throughout national policy – which sets out a clear long-term vision for the North with an ambitious plan to achieve it.
  • A step-change in the level of investment allocated to the North – to be achieved by a long-term investment programme linked to the Northern Powerhouse Strategy, which explicitly tackles the systemic issues and historic underinvestment that currently prevent the North fulfilling its potential.
  • Improvements to Government Policy to place greater emphasis on social value and long-term growth, targeting those areas that face the greatest challenges.
  • Enhanced powers for the North for the benefit of the UK as a whole, building on existing strong partnerships between the public and private sectors across skills and education, housing, energy, trade and investment, innovation, and transport. 

The findings from policy workshops covering skills, transport, innovation, trade and investment, clean growth and housing will culminate in the final session of the day led by Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, in which a “Manifesto for the North” will result.

Mr Marsh said: “Despite the clear economic opportunity the North represents, the North-South divide continues to widen, holding back our economy, our productivity and people’s opportunities.

“That is why this working convention today, the largest of its kind, is vital so that we go beyond discussion of the challenges we face and focus on the action we can take as northerners, working with national government, to build a North that works for everyone: for business, for people – for young people especially.

“We need bold ideas from the North and radical change from Government that leads to a seismic shift in funding and powers if we are to truly ‘level up’ the North.  I very much look forward to contributing and listening to the debate that results from today so that we can together turn words into action.”

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council and chair of Convention of the North, added: “There is a restless drumbeat of progress across the North. We are rightly fiercely proud of our towns and cities, and we all want them to succeed, but we are not afraid of the need to change, and we welcome any government that empowers us in our aims.

“Our North is one that is ready to take on its challenges. Today we come together to address the big issues with a clear message to government – give us the tools to finally close the North-South divide.

“From transport investment to job creation, it is crucial that Government backs our ambition. We are ready for the next stage in the devolution journey, and I look forward to working with ministers to secure this.”

The Convention of the North is intended to make a powerful, unified case to the new Prime Minister and Government for tangible investment in the Northern Powerhouse. Senior Government Ministers are expected to be in attendance throughout the day.

The legacy of the event will be to produce a way ahead for the Northern Powerhouse and to present a set of policy “asks” to the Government - created by the North for the North.