A UNITED call for the ‘forgotten’ north to be at the heart of the next Prime Minister’s focus is “exactly what the region needs”.

Support for the Power up the North campaign came yesterday from both the Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry, and Transport for the North.

The call for Britain’s main political parties to commit to turbo-charging the north’s economy was jointly launched by the News & Star, our publisher Newsquest and titles produced by rival publishers JPI Media and Reach.

The collaboration demands formal backing of the Northern Powerhouse policy agenda to “reverse decades of under-investment in key services” and was launched with a united open letter to the next Prime Minister.

Mr Berry said: “The Power Up The North campaign is exactly what we need - showcasing the north’s great ambition and potential, and what can be achieved with the right support.

“As Northern Powerhouse minister I fully back this campaign. What is being called for reflects what I have been working so hard to achieve, and what our new Prime Minister needs to prioritise.”

Transport for the North has echoed the call, insisting that such action is vital to ensure the region’s economic stability.

Barry White, chief executive, said: “This powerful call cements the strength of feeling from the north’s communities – that our time is now.

“After decades of underinvestment, it’s clear investment in infrastructure is fundamental to closing the productivity gap and rebalancing the UK economy.

“When it comes to transport, the north is ready to go. We have a coherent plan, backed by the north’s political leaders and businesses, of where investment should be channelled.

“That includes totemic decisions like investing up to £39bn in Northern Powerhouse Rail - which should absolutely be seen as an opportunity and priority for the UK, not just the north.

“Now we need commitments of both capital and development funding to get shovels in the ground on a range of road and rail projects as soon as possible.

“That, alongside a strengthened role for the north’s decision-makers, could see the well-documented inequalities begin to close.”

Power Up The North is hoping for a positive response, after a similar campaign named One North successfully compelled the Government to take action on behalf of the millions of passengers suffering travel misery following a new timetable from operator Northern.