SMALL business chiefs in Greater Manchester have demanded that HS2 remains on track.

New Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced an urgent review of the north-south rail link,

And critics fear the decision, amid spiralling HS2 costs, could spell the end for the beleaguered project.

Phil Thompson, area lead for the Federation of Small Businesses, is adamant the line should survive.

He said: "For the good of small firms here in Greater Manchester, the wider North, and the UK economy as a whole, it's vital HS2 remains on track.

"This stop-start approach to major transport investment that has held our economy back for decades – particularly in the North – has to end.

"It's right HS2 represents value for money, and that starts with responsible procurement – bringing smaller firms into the supply chain wherever possible and paying them on time."

Mr Thompson has called on Northern Powerhouse supporters to present a united front to Whitehall, with fears that HS3, Manchester to Leeds, also feared to be in jeopardy.