The North could thrive in the decades ahead. Its economy is significant on an international scale: it is larger than most EU economies, and those of the UK’s devolved nations combined; and it has vital assets and capabilities which have national importance and global reach. The North’s economic diversity is one of its great strengths. Assets, industrial clusters and the wider foundations of growth are varied and distributed across the region’s geography: the city regions, towns, airports, ports and rural areas all have a role to play in helping to underpin and galvanise future northern prosperity.

But to succeed in the future, the North must learn from the past. An honest appraisal of the North’s current economic position finds some severe weaknesses: all the UK’s nations regions have major challenges – not least our unequal and overheating capital – but the North has an economy in which productivity, job creation and job quality are all far too low.

In order to succeed in the decades ahead, the North must work together. Local industrial strategies will rightly make the case for sub-regions to be the focus of devolved economic policy. But in some areas of policy, the North needs to coordinate, and in others the North must act collectively: pan-regional transport, trade and investment, innovation and supporting supply chains.