It was somewhat ironic that I was invited to the Nuclear Industry Association’s annual Nuclear New Build conference in London this week.

I would have loved to – just one problem.

No new build is happening here. And it isn’t for the foreseeable future.

When the £15 billion Moorside project was in its death throws, business leaders, politicians, unions, academics all demanded the Government intervene to keep it alive.

But it was during an uncomfortable TV interview with Prime Minister Theresa May during which she repeatedly described the desperate search for a new investor as a “commercial matter”, that it became crystal clear there would be no support from Westminster.

On November 5, Toshiba announced its intention to back out. A project that would have not only created thousands of jobs and supply chain opportunities but also generated a significant chunk of the UK’s energy needs, was left in tatters.

In the aftermath, all of the bold statements came from Cumbria. We need to work together to find a new developer. Could we build small modular reactors on the site?

Sadly, only mood music came from a Government clearly wrapped up in the unfolding Brexit farce. 

The future of the Moorside site is just one of the issues which the unique Power up The North collaboration between rival publishers Newsquest (owners of in-Cumbria), JPI Media and Reach are looking for clarity on.

What is the plan? Is there a plan?

Because, sadly, Moorside is just one of a number of examples where the Government, and the political establishment as a whole, has failed Cumbria and, more widely the North.

There are plenty of others.

Why does so much funding for infrastructure go to the south when, across the North, the need is clear and present?

Just over £1,000 is spent her head on transport projects in London – almost double what is spent per head across the whole of the North West.

London is clearly worthy, but that is a heck of a gap, particularly given what needs to be done in the North to better connect its towns and cities and where, on the whole, a little would go a long way.

There has already been desperate overtures from Government that Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and HS2 north of Birmingham will happen – even though there are well-placed fears neither will materialise if the budget for HS2 in particular continues to spiral.

Yes, these are big strategic concerns – and yes, the investment may not necessarily take place in Cumbria, but they will benefit Cumbria, just as long as the correct links are made and, should it ever reach this far, Cumbria gets at least one HS2 stop.

But, really, why do we need to have to thrash around to get these reassurances? Why does it always feel that securing any investment or support for the North is a fight?

The system is also skewed against us by a Government committed to cost-benefit analysis.

Just last week Cumbria Chamber of Commerce gave evidence to a select committee on the importance of protecting businesses against coastal flooding. London and the South East receives 60 per cent of flooding defence funding in England but is home to just 32 per cent of the population.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not wish flooding on anyone. But I recall is being more of a problem in places like Cumbria than in the opposite end of the country. Yes, we’re resilient and bounce back but we’re still repairing bridges damaged by Storm Desmond in 2015. 

Would that be the case if it had hit the south as hard? I suspect everything would have been up-and-running much quicker.

I have two boys, some way off starting their working lives, but nonetheless, like any parent I think about their future a lot. I’d like them to stay in Cumbria to pursue their career and lifestyle goals. And while the opportunity will always be there for them to spread their wings and see the world – I want Cumbria, and the North, to at least offer them the choice to stay.

So why is a young person’s life chances so much better in the south than the North? Why would a carbon copy of my kids be better off in the south than here?

The more investment in schools, colleges and universities, demanded by Power Up the North is a step in the right direction. So too is the improvements in digital infrastructure as we continue to move towards being able to do pretty much any job anywhere, with the right broadband connection.

But if we are to have any chance of rebalancing the economy, we really do need to see more investment that nurtures the region’s young people.

The North, put simply, needs more – whether via the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Transport for the North, The Borderlands Growth Deal and all the others springing up – or through new devolved powers, for which Cumbria has to be top of the list.

And this is the rub. At the moment we have significant gaps on public and infrastructure spending. To properly rebalance something, in this case a nation’s economy, you typically have to give more to the poorer relation – the North fitting that bill perfectly. 

The gap is currently so big, it is going to take both ambition and boldness from whichever party is in Government or whoever our new Prime Minister may be. I can’t see ambition or boldness is any other them, but I’d love to be proved wrong.

I can only hope the plans on these, and other issues which Power up The North are calling for, are forthcoming and clearly lay out how this rebalancing is going to be achieved.

Of course, sorting out Brexit would help create the bandwidth to properly overcome this and the many other challenges back at home.

You can’t beat a good plan. Everything I do at work is planned out. The impact? I know what needs to be done, by when and by whom. Without it, things would be pretty chaotic.

The fact that Power up The North has to ask each of the political parties for their Brexit plan is simply embarrassing. An extremely sorry state of affairs, but alas where we are. But have no fear – all will be sorted by October, so we’re led to believe.

But, for me Power up The North makes one extremely powerful point. The North is the UK’s largest manufacturing region, generating £343bn a year. If the North was a country it would be the ninth largest economy in Europe.

Pretty impressive. 

If I was a businessman, I’d be backing it. Clearly, we need more businesspeople in politics.