Theresa May today spoke of the importance of the Northern Powerhouse project as she prepared to hold her Cabinet in the North-East for the first time.
The Prime Minister will host the meeting of her top Ministers in Gateshead, where discussions will focus on implementing the Government’s Modern Industrial Strategy.
The Cabinet will also talk about making Brexit work throughout the UK and the role of Local Enterprise Partnerships in boosting growth and prosperity.
During the visit to the North-East, Mrs May will confirm that the Government will lay the legislation to formally conclude the North of Tyne Devolution Deal.
She will also confirm that £780m will be spent on upgrades to the East Coast Main Line from next year, in order that they will be completed in the early 2020s.
Improvements such as cutting journeys between London and Leeds to under two hours were promised when Virgin Trains East Coast took over the franchise in 2015. But the much-needed improvements are now in doubt as the infrastructure works on the route will not now be complete until 2021 at best. Among the attendees at Cabinet will be Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, who is also expected to meet businesses in West Yorkshire during the day.
Mrs May said: “Making Britain a country that works for everyone, in urban and rural regions, is a priority for my Government – and a thriving economy across the Northern Powerhouse is central to that.”
Her Government has been accused of rowing back on the commitment to the North exhibited by former Chancellor George Osborne. Last month, 25 newspapers from across the North called on Mrs May to act to improve transport in the region after the Northern rail timetable chaos,