THE Northern Powerhouse partnership has launched its own review into HS2 after a Government-commissioned inquiry into the scheme was announced last week.

The partnership said its purpose was to offer a northern perspective, and to ensure the north was properly heard in the government's Oakervee review of HS2.

It will push the case that major infrastructure invesmtent is needed to rebalance the UK economy by narrowing the huge economic gap between north and south..

The Powerhouse review will be overseen by Cllr Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, Kevin Hollinrake MP, the co-chair of the Northern Powerhouse, and other business and civic leaders.

The Department for Transport announced last week that its own review into HS2 would analyse whether and how the project should continue, prompting fears that it may be scrapped.

Former HS2 Ltd chairman Douglass Oakervee will lead the government inquiry, with Lord Berkeley – known as a long term critic of the high-speed railway scheme - acting as his deputy.

It will consider benefits, impacts, affordability and efficiency, among other things.

A final report will be sent to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps – with oversight from Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor Sajid Javid – by the autumn.

The launch of the review comes amid growing concern that HS2 cannot be built to its current specification within the £55.7 billion budget.

A report in the Financial Times stated that HS2 chairman Allan Cook had written to t he DfT warning the final bill could reach as much as £85bn.

Now the Northern Powerhouse's review will bring together leading voices from across the north to argue the case for improving connectivity.

Henri Murison, Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership said: “The Northern Powerhouse is of critical importance to the future of UK prosperity, and without improving connectivity it will be difficult to address the underlying reasons for our lower productivity.

"In the coming weeks, this group of distinguished leaders and experts from across the North will be addressing the key evidence to ensure that the importance of economic rebalancing is fully understood by those undertaking the Oakervee review.”

The move comes after a survey of nearly 3,000 people in May showed 40 per cent were opposed to the building of a high-speed rail line along the HS2 route, with 32 per cent supporting it.

Almost half of Conservative voters in the survey group opposed the scheme. Labour peer Lord Adonis said the government review would 'screw the Midlands and the north'.