The previous Chancellor, George Osborne, put forward a number of plans for more devolution and had a vision of creating a northern hub mainly based on Manchester and Leeds. Since the referendum the new administration seems to be backtracking from the focus on the north and easing on the stick being used to get Mayors elected in exchange for more devolution and control over local budgets.
Whether it was that George Osborne is MP for Tatton near Manchester but that city seemed to be getting the lion’s share of attention, Theresa May is saying we want a powerhouse in every region, the Midlands, South West being two. It is probably true that the South East and Scotland already get a bigger share of investment.
HS2 and HS3 rail upgrades are still on the table. Manchester will have control over a bigger budget including health and a mayoral election is going ahead with Andy Burnham looking for the role. Other centres are struggling to get agreement with Lancashire having one borough council not wanting to be run by a combined authority and Yorkshire having similar problems.
The term ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is quite snappy but, like most things, sceptics liked to mock. It seems that it will continue in some form but the name and some of the features such as the mayors will probably slip away.