If the traffic on the M6 is any barometer of economic activity, George Osborne’s much-vaunted Northern Powerhouse is cranking itself up. Between Stoke on Trent to the M62, the traffic was stop-start all the way on both the morning and evening commutes. This is in stark contrast to the dark days of 2008 and 2009, when the motorways ran clear for months. The snag is, if economic activity across the North is to continue to grow, there are clearly some profound infrastructure challenges. I spent more time staring at the brake lights of the car in front yesterday than I did in meetings in Birmingham, which is hardly productive. I would have taken the train, but this involved 3 changes and almost 4 hours in transit each way. So if The Honorable Member for Tatton really is serious about shifting the Northern Powerhouse into top gear, he needs to put his money where his mouth is when it comes to road and rail infrastructure, otherwise, the entire project risks stalling before it gets out of 3rd gear.