BUSINESS and political leaders from York and North Yorkshire have today thrown their support behind a new "game-changing" Manifesto for the North.

The manifesto is a five-point plan calling for clean growth, devolution, transport, education, investment and trade and it will be presented to political parties as they prepare for the General Election next month.

The manifesto, produced by the Convention of the North and NP11 - a group of all 11 Northern Local Enterprise Partnerships - demands that the North should lead the green industrial revolution, with industry de-carbonised, existing housing stock retrofitted and new homes built to the highest standards.

It also says there should be local control of education and training, a commitment to rebalancing the economy, a transport budget for the north and a drive for export led growth.

The manifesto, which comes six months after The Press and other regional newspapers launched a Power up the North campaign, calling for the Government to invest in the north and narrow the north-south divide, has been welcomed by Andrew Digwood, president of the York & North Yorkshire Chamber and a partner at Rollits Solicitors in York.

He said it set out an "ambitious agenda for rebalancing the UK economy".

He said: "It rightly acknowledges that rebalancing the national economy requires control over multiple levers and that growth strategies relating to housing, transport, education and skills, trade and investment must be woven together. Devolution presents a significant opportunity for our region to be able to do this at scale but based on local understanding of the challenges faced and the opportunity to provide tailored solutions which will have the most impact.”

City of York Council leader and Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for York Outer, Keith Aspden, claimed that for far too long, consecutive Conservative Government’s had ignored the region and instead, concentrated investment in the South of England, leading to crises in local health services, transport infrastructure and schools.

“It is time that this inequality was addressed and that is exactly what the ‘Manifesto for the North’ aims to do,” he said.

Green deputy council leader Andy D’Agorne said the north needed more investment in green industry and better public transport, for example in speeding up the west-east rail routes such as Manchester to Leeds and York.

Dr Christopher Kirkland, lecturer in politics at York St John University, said the then Chancellor George Osborne announced in 2014 that the north needed a Northern Powerhouse, and many of the points raised here were similar to the problems identified at the time.

“Despite the rhetoric of the Northern Powerhouse, government decisions such as the downgrading of the Leeds-Manchester rail electrification and the performances of train operating companies demonstrate that progress has been hard to come by,” he said.

“These 'game changers', if implemented, could offer long term goals and solutions to some of the structural problems of the north.”

Read more analysis and reaction to the manifesto here.