Dismay has been expressed that devolution for the North has not emerged as a key pledge in the Conservative election manifesto.

The Northern Powerhouse Partnership (NPP) – which brings together business and political leaders in the region to push for investment and greater political control – wants to see 100 per cent devolution across the North.

And while Prime Minister Boris Johnson and other senior members of the Conservative Government have all expressed a desire to hand more powers to the region, the NPP’s director Henri Murison has said the party’s manifesto does not go far enough.

“We are disappointed to not see devolution as a central theme, particularly when so many of those voting in the Brexit referendum were as alienated by Whitehall based establishment as they were in opposition to remaining,” he said.

Mr Murison has already welcomed the manifesto commitment from the Liberal Democrats to devolve funding powers to English regions as a way of rebalancing the UK economy.

The NPP has been challenging the main political parties on their manifestos in the lead up to the election, which is to take place on December 12, on their commitment to devolution, HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse Rail project.

Calls have been growing for a devolution deal for Cumbria, with business leaders and politicians alike fearing the county may get left behind.

However, discussions have been kicked into the long grass due to the on-going uncertainty around Brexit and the impending general election.

And debate still rages behind the scenes over whether Cumbria moves to a single combined authority or whether there is a split across the county, diving the north and the south.

The NPP’s vice chairman Lord Jim O’Neill is travelling to Cumbria on Wednesday to argue that devolution is a pre-requisite for unlocking the full economic and social potential of the county – and more than just an election issue.

He will tell an audience at UCLan’s Samuel Lindow on Westlakes Science Park, near Whitehaven, that devolution is a pre-requisite for unlocking the full potential of the county – and more than just an election issue.

He believes the county’s strengths in nuclear, energy, advanced manufacturing and strong community of small and medium sized enterprises give it a competitive economic advantage.

And while he says it is down to local leaders to “determine at what geography a devolved model would work in Cumbria” he has called for responsibilities over transport and skills to be handed to the county as a “starting point”.