A trust fund will be set-up to help Longbridge workers and their families if the last ditch attempt to resurrect MG Rover falls through.

Phoenix Venture Holdings has announced that the "Phoenix Trust" will be established if the administrators cannot find a buyer for the company.

A 40 per cent shareholding - worth up to £30 million - which is held individually by PVH directors John Towers, John Edwards, Nick Stephenson and Peter Beale has been offered as a means of buying time for the administrators PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

The trust would be headed by local historian Professor Carl Chinn and non-executive Rover director Nigel Petrie who have agreed to act as trustees for the Phoenix Consortium shareholding.

Initially the voting rights will be retained by the four shareholders but when the situation becomes clearer these rights will be passed to the trust. The trustees will be given complete discretion to allocate any funds to help the families of the Longbridge workforce.

Commenting on the proposal, Carl Chinn said: "I only agreed to do this on two grounds, firstly if it was voluntary and unpaid, and secondly, if it was independent and I'm glad to say both those conditions have been granted.

"But if I feel compromised or as though I'm being used as a PR tool at any time I will walk away.

"In my opinion if the money has to go into a trust fund then that money is the workers' money.

"They have earned it for their commitment, hard work and integrity over the past five years but I understand it would be better if the money was used to save jobs rather then lessen the blow of losing them.

"The workers are due a lot of money in my view, what is £280 a week when you have been working at the plant for years? I think it is a pitiful situation we are in right now.

"My first concern is to ensure that I work on behalf of the workers rather than enter into recriminations or by attacking individuals.

"I have criticised the directors in the past for their bunker mentality but now is not the time for that, I am only interested in defending the honour and integrity of the workers."

John Towers, chairman of MG Rover, said "It is not yet clear what the value of the PVH shares is. PVH has significant assets totalling about £50 million but we believe a reasonable estimate of its present value is between £10 million and £30 million.

"However it is important to note that this value is subject to attack by third parties associated with the administration of other parts of the PVH Group.

"The Phoenix directors have also offered these assets to PWC to help fund the administration process of MG Rover Group Ltd and Powertrain Ltd which would make less assets available to the trust but this route would clearly also be of benefit to the Longbridge workforce."

Tony Lomas, joint administrator and partner at PWC, greeted the proposal with caution.

He said: "The directors have verbally confirmed to us that in the event that the assets cannot in fact somehow be used to support the companies in administration they intend to pledge their shares in PVH for the benefit of employees and their families."