MG Rover directors will contribute about £12 million from their own pockets towards keeping the firm afloat.

The pledge is designed to reassure the Department for Trade and Industry as the car manufacturer continues to seek a deal with China's Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.

Ministers have agreed to supply the firm, which employs 6,000 workers in Longbridge, with a bridging loan of £100 million, but under European Union rules the money must be paid back.

Last night MG Rover tried to reassure its workers that crucial talks aimed at securing the firm's future were still on track, as the car giant stressed its commitment to achieving a joint venture with its proposed Chinese partner.

There was speculation last night that an announcement would be made in days. Talks taking place in Shanghai between DTI officials and SAIC stalled earlier this week when the extent of MG Rover's financial difficulties was revealed.

Speaking from the talks in Shanghai, MG Rover chairman John Towers said: " Members of both companies have been working non-stop over the past week to create outcomes for all elements of our complex joint venture agreements."

The Government's offer was backed by Tory leader Michael Howard.

He told The Birmingham Post: "We fully support the efforts that the Government are making with MG Rover although it would have been much better if they started earlier."