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Osborne takes sixth job since leaving politics with honorary professorship

Mr Osborne’s new post, due to start in July, is likely to involve no more than a few lectures and visits a year.

Former chancellor George Osborne has scooped his sixth job since leaving politics, with an unpaid appointment as honorary professor of economics at the University of Manchester.

Mr Osborne, who stepped down from Parliament at this month’s election, is also editor of the Evening Standard newspaper, an adviser to investment management firm BlackRock, chairman of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, a fellow at US think tank the McCain Institute, and makes lucrative after-dinner speeches around the world for the Washington Speakers Bureau.

The appointment comes at a time when the university is cutting 171 jobs in a move which unions said was “at direct odds” with the goal of Mr Osborne’s Northern Partnership to boost the economy of the north of England.

University and College Union regional official Martyn Moss said: “The University of Manchester is currently planning to axe 171 jobs and around 1,000 staff don’t know what their future holds.

“None of them will be reassured by the university’s decision to offer a man with five jobs something else to do.

“We hope that, as an economics professor, Mr Osborne will question how plans to slash local jobs and reduce the opportunities for students, particularly those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds, fits in with his vision for a strong Northern Powerhouse.”

A University of Manchester spokesman confirmed that governors agreed in May to open consultation with unions over “reductions of up to 171 posts” in a drive to “ensure the financial sustainability of the university”.

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(Victoria Jones/PA)

“The university has opened a voluntary severance scheme for staff at risk, to avoid the need for compulsory redundancy if at all possible,” said the spokesman.

Mr Osborne’s new post, due to start in July, is likely to involve no more than a few lectures and visits a year.

It will allow him to continue his work on the Northern Powerhouse initiative, which he launched at the Treasury to develop economic growth and connectivity in the cities of the North of England.

The university said he would be “sharing his knowledge with staff and students by giving lectures, masterclasses and conducting informal visits”, and is interested in continuing to support cutting-edge work into the ultra-thin substance graphene, which won a Nobel prize in physics for Manchester scientists.

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(Peter Byrne/PA)

As chancellor, Mr Osborne was supportive of the university’s National Graphene Institute and Henry Royce Institute as centres of scientific excellence which could be translated into economic growth.

Mr Osborne said: “I am bowled over by this honour. The University of Manchester was at the centre of so many things I tried to achieve as chancellor, from the promotion of new science to the building of the links between this country and countries like China. It is also one of the jewels in the crown of the Northern Powerhouse.

“I remain completely committed to that idea that together the different communities in the North can work together so that the whole is greater than the parts – and I believe more strongly than I ever did that the entire country, including our capital, would benefit from a stronger North.”

A fellow architect of the Northern Powerhouse, former Treasury minister Lord O’Neill, is also an honorary professor at Manchester, and the university’s president and vice-chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, is on the board of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership.

Dame Nancy said: “George’s decision to accept our offer of an honorary professorship is very exciting news for the university.”

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