Not so grim up North: Theresa May has committed herself to former chancellor George Osborne's Northern Powerhouse strategy

Mark Sands
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Conservative Party Conference Held In Birmingham - Day 3
May has vowed to back George Osborne's plans for infrastructure investment in the North (Source: Getty)

Theresa May has committed her government to the Northern Powerhouse, saying the region will be a key part of her industrial strategy.

Previously championed by David Cameron's government, doubts had emerged over May's commitment to the Northern Powerhouse plan to develop infrastructure and hand more powers to city regions.

However, writing in the Yorkshire Post today, May vowed to press ahead with the project, while also committing £24m to support the region's bid to host the cycling world championships.

“Yorkshire is a key part of our vision for a Northern Powerhouse – our plan to help the great cities and towns of the North pool their strengths and take on the world,” May said.

Read More: It’s more vital than ever that the Northern Powerhouse succeeds

She added the government also remained committed to devolving more power to Yorkshire, with a new mayor for the Sheffield City region expected to be elected next May.

“I want the government to work with people here to bring the benefits of devolution to other parts of Yorkshire too,” May said.

"There are big investments happening across the county. Across the North as a whole, inward investment has rocketed by 127 per cent in the last two years alone.

"That’s even faster than in London and the South, and shows how international investors increasingly recognise the North’s strengths. But there is much more to do – and together with people in Yorkshire, this government will take the next steps to drive this county forward," May said.

Read More: Birmingham is the next major hub, says John Lewis boss

At the same time, the Prime Minister has also used the Birmingham Mail to stress her support for the Midlands Engine – the plan to invest in the regions infrastructure and businesses.

The West Midlands region will also elect a mayor next May, and the government's engine project is being chaired by Standard Chartered's John Peace.

“We’re at the start of an exciting time for Birmingham and the whole of the Midlands,” May said.

“The hard work and creativity of people here is helping to build the Midlands Engine - and I can promise that the government I lead will back you all the way.”

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