Critics say £5m for ‘northern powerhouse’ event compares unfavourably with council cuts

A mural featuring a Greggs steak bake and the UK’s largest water sculpture are among the attractions of the Great Exhibition of the North, a summer-long festival which aims to repeat the success of the Victorians’ world fairs – on a tiny fraction of the budget.

The exhibition, which opened on Friday with a blast of confetti on Newcastle’s Quayside, aims to shine a light on the north of England’s cultural and industrial past and present. It was the brainchild of George Osborne, who championed the idea of a “northern powerhouse” before being sacked by Theresa May and going on to edit the London Evening Standard.

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