A NEW think tank to help the north recover from the impacts of lockdown has called for more financial support.

The Northern Policy Foundation (NPF) has written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, calling for a "new deal" for the north.

Made up of Conservative MPs who made historic gains during the last election, including MP for Bolton North East Mark Logan, the group wants to see a five-part package to address historic underinvestment in the area.

In an open letter to the Chancellor, the group has called for a new fund to invest in science and research, Bounce Back Opportunity Zones that will cut business rates for employers, and a skills bank to give £1,000 of training grants to those who become unemployed, long-term furloughed, or wish to re-skill or upskill.

An overhaul of contract procurement and the acceleration of infrastructure, such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, have also been requested.

Tom Lees, director of the NPF said: “Levelling-up the country is essential to the UK's future success and prosperity.

"For decades many parts of the North have been overlooked, ignored and felt unloved. That needs to change.

"The Northern Policy Foundation has set out five pragmatic policy proposals we want the Government to consider as it sets out the next steps of its post-COVID recovery plans, New Deal and Local Growth White Paper.

"This is a golden opportunity to address some of the long-standing structural challenges the North faces and we urge the Chancellor to seriously consider our proposals.”