Downing Street has confirmed that Boris Johnson will hold next week's Cabinet in the North of England to mark Brexit day.
But the Prime Minister's spokesman was forced to deny that the move was just "a gimmick" that had no substance.
Senior members of the Government will decamp from London for the symbolic special meeting on January 31, designed to demonstrate their commitment to closing the North-South divide.
The PM's official spokesman said: "The Prime Minister and the Cabinet have set out that they want to work for the entire country and they want to engage more widely across the UK and this is one of many opportunities to do so."
But pressed by reporters whether the move was just a "gimmick" he added: "They want to engage more widely across the UK and this is one of many opportunities to do so."
Best for Britain chief executive Naomi Smith said: “This announcement from the Government may show surface-level respect for the North, but we have seen no real commitment to truly empower these areas.
Despite holding power since 2010, their neglect for the North has resulted in jobs being lost and communities being left further behind.
Their ideological desire to push through a hard Brexit will hurt these areas first and worst.
“Rather than creating a false image of caring for the rest of the country, this Government should look urgently to minimise the impact their reckless project will bring.”