A major group of businesses intent on driving prosperity and productivity in the North has topped 300 members.

The Northern Powerhouse Partner Programme is intended to bring together firms who back the Government’s vision for prosperity across the North and showcase why it is a "great place" to do business.

The milestone comes ahead of the summit organised by the Convention of the North and NP11 – supported by the Government – which will see political, business, community and academic leaders discuss plans to level up the North and build on the progress made across the Northern Powerhouse since it was launched five years ago.

The Northern Powerhouse Partner Programme’s 302 members include major international firms like Rolls Royce and Santander, as well as growing small businesses.

Minister for the Northern Powerhouse Jake Berry said: “This is an important milestone with over 300 businesses squarely behind our vision for a prosperous North which is the front door to a global-facing UK when we leave the EU on 31 October.

“Our Northern Powerhouse Partner Programme includes businesses of all sizes across a variety of key sectors, clearly showing the strength in depth of this incredible region.

“They are all helping the North to thrive by creating jobs, boosting local economic growth and providing opportunities for people to reach their full potential.

“I look forward to discussing with them and many others how we can do even more to level up the North at next month’s summit.”

John Grainger, executive director of Britain’s Energy Coast Business Cluster, said: “BECBC is proud to be a member of the Northern Powerhouse Partner Programme.

"Representing a supply chain that covers all forms of energy production, we believe that Cumbria is genuinely the power behind the Northern Powerhouse. Together we look forward to playing a full and active role in developing all aspects of both the nuclear fuel cycle and wider energy opportunities over the next decade and beyond.”

Barry Leahey, managing director of Playdale Playgrounds in Haverthwaite, said: “With the help of strong advice and a supply chain in the Northern Powerhouse we have taken Playdale products manufactured in Cumbria to 50 countries around the globe.”

Andy Okolowicz, factory manager, at New Balance in Flimby, said: “We are delighted to be a member of the Northern Powerhouse Partners Programme.

"As a manufacturer, exporter, and contributor to the regional Cumbrian economy, we see the enormous potential in being a part of this collaborative effort by the Government.

"It is a grand initiative which stands to link the great communities of the North, boost economic growth, and, together, make the Northern Powerhouse a reality.”