NORTHERN business leaders have called on the region to "take control" of HS2 ahead of a Government-commissioned review which could lead to part of the scheme being scrapped.

The Northern Powerhouse Independent Review called for the establishment of a body named HS2 North, which would be arm's-length from government and be overseen by Transport for the North to ensure HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail are combined efficiently.

The appeal comes as The chairs of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) all signed up to a statement claiming a scaled-back version "will not deliver the improved connectivity across the country that businesses are crying out for", as they called for the scheme to be built in full.

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson has also sent a joint letter with Derby South MP Margaret Beckett to the chair of the HS2 independent review outlining the importance of the scheme proceeding in full.

Newton Aycliffe-based Hitachi remain in the running for a HS2 contract as part of a joint bid with Derby-based Bombardier, and the MPs argue the high-speed network is vital for thousands of workers in the North-East, including Hitachi staff and those in the supply train.

Hitachi has been struggling for orders in recent months and insiders believe the HS2 contract will be crucial for its long-term future.

In the letter, Mr Wilson said: "The Hitachi and Bombardier joint venture bid is the only one that provides maximum benefit for the economy by using established factories in the UK, relying one established UK supply chains.

"Bombardier and Hitachi have a joint UK workforce of almost 8,000. The rolling stock contract will create and sustain many skilled design, manufacturing and maintenance jobs all across the country.

"This potential would be lost if HS2 was cancelled or majorly de-scooped."

A spokesperson for CBI said: "HS2 will create half a million jobs, stimulate house building along its route and support much-needed investment across the Midlands, North and beyond. It is the critical spine that will bring wider transport improvements like Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Midlands Rail Hub to life."

A review into whether to scrap HS2 was launched by the Prime Minister in August and is due to be completed shortly.

Recent figures compiled by HS2 Ltd show the railway could be delayed by up to seven years and run £26bn over budget.

Phase two of HS2 is expected to reach as far North as Manchester and Leeds.