George Osborne is making some of the right noises when it comes to North East priorities.
But he has showed again that his message needs refining.
A “northern powerhouse” of cities is his preferred soundbite. It sounds attractive – but we aren’t much nearer knowing what it means.
Mr Osborne likes the idea of elected mayors. The problem with that is that Newcastle has already decided it doesn’t want one.
And if there is one clear message coming out of the debate that followed the Scottish referendum it is that people do not want another layer of government and bureaucracy.
While Mr Osborne scans distant horizons, the North East Chamber of Commerce is offering a much more targeted list of measures that would help our region.
They are the sort of powers the North East combined authority could be equipped with to give the region real muscle. Give it some thought, Mr Osborne.