THE new Prime Minister was last night urged to "reboot the Northern Powerhouse agenda" on the five year anniversary of the launch of the flagship investment initiative for the region.

Sunday will mark five years since George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer at the time, first launched his "vision of a Northern Powerhouse" to stop London "dominating more and more" – something he said would not be healthy for the UK.

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But to mark the anniversary, progress on the scheme has been described as a "missed opportunity", whilst others have said there is more to do, with some of the funding "not used well enough".

When Mr Osborne launched the Northern Powerhouse back in 2014, he said it would provide great jobs and businesses, fast and effective transport connections, and strong universities and hospitals, colleges and schools for aspirational families, as well as the entertainment, green spaces, housing, culture and sport that makes for a good lifestyle.

Marianne O'Sullivan, policy advisor at NEECC, said the region is waiting for a "significant increase in infrastructure spending".

"One of the clearest examples of the impact of the Northern Powerhouse concept has been the creation of Transport for the North.

"This has been a crucial step in creating one transport plan which key stakeholders across the North agree on. Without the creation of Transport for the North it is hard to imagine projects such as Northern Powerhouse Rail having the kind of broad support it now has with the Government under pressure to deliver on these key projects.

"However, there is still a way to go. We are still waiting for a significant increase in infrastructure spending across the whole of the North. The Government have tasked Transport for the North to create a unifying transport plan, the test is now whether Government will provide the investment and the devolved powers to demonstrate their commitment to strengthening the North’s economy.

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Paul Carbert, policy advisor at NEECC specialising in issues relating to education and training, said there are signs the potential of the North can be "unlocked" if it is given more control.

He said: "Reports from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and the Children’s Commissioner have highlighted the gap in attainment between schools in the North and those in London and the South East. The recommendations from these reports and others to increase funding for Northern schools in order to address regional inequality has helped to make the issue a political priority.

"In response to this, the Government have introduced£24m in funding to improve teacher training, school leadership, and support the transition from primary to secondary school, and to higher education.

"In the future, we would like to see more devolution of centralised education and training funding, and increased powers for Combined Authorities to implement local and regional strategies to boost education and training."

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Jonathan Walker, assistant policy director, added: "For decades the North has been held back by a lack of investment in infrastructure and centralised decision making.

"Successive Governments have talked about redressing economic imbalances and supporting growth in the North, but progress has been frustratingly slow.

"Regions such as the North have tremendous economic potential. Any prospective Prime Minister needs to not only recognise this potential, but also help us deliver on it.

"This means both improving our access to markets through major infrastructure investment and fundamentally changing the way Government thinks about economic development."

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Lord Jim O’Neill, vice-chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership said: “The Cities Growth Commission that I chaired made the case for what could be achieved by devolution. Five years ago, many of those ideas led the then Chancellor George Osborne to launch the Northern Powerhouse, which brought together Labour city regional leaders with a government that I then joined.”

“Five years on we have achieved much. In infrastructure, it is vital that the government commits to Northern Powerhouse Rail which would have a very positive consequence for the agglomeration concept that underlies the Northern Powerhouse idea and would be the clearest sign of true fresh government commitment.

"However, in areas like education there is more to do, and funding even that I myself fought for in government was then after I left the Treasury not used well enough."

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Nick Forbes, chair of the Convention of the North, said: “Over the last five years the North has come together to fight for its future in a way not seen before. The successes achieved so far are largely down to action here, with the devolution agenda seemingly stalled in Whitehall.

“We have seen some progress, most notably with Transport for the North taking the first steps towards matching major decisions with northern priorities, but we have seen missed opportunity as well.

“The next Prime Minister needs to urgently reboot the Northern Powerhouse agenda. That means backing HS2 and the East-West rail improvements the north so clearly needs, revitalising the devolution process to hand power and responsibility back to local communities, and it means handing the north the financial security to let us lead the way on our own future, for the benefit of all the UK.”