An emergency summit will be held tonight to help beleaguered suppliers who are owed an estimated £200 million by MG Rover.

Scores of components makers across the Midlands are facing mounting cash-flow problems, following the collapse of the Longbridge carmaker.

The meeting, which has been organised by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCI) and will be held at the chamber's HQ in Edgbaston at 5.30pm, comes as evidence gathers of problems in the supply chain.

A survey taken by the BCI of 25 suppliers indicates that their debt alone with MG Rover is £9 million and the total bill for all suppliers could run into tens of millions of pounds.

The BCI said help could be provided through VAT and PAYE holidays and it was talking to the banks to see how they can help.

Chief executive Sue Battle said: "There is a very real and immediate crisis for suppliers.

"So far, 200 suppliers have been in touch with our helpline, operated by Accelerate, the Chamber's automotive supplier initiative.

"We are looking at other practical help that we can provide to companies who may have to lay off people or even make them redundant."

A panel of experts, including an employment lawyer, an insolvency practitioner, legal specialists and accountants will be present at the meeting.

Ms Battle added: "There is a difficult situation emerging with supplier stock held at the Longbridge plant.

"There is no clear picture about what stock is paid for and who owns it. This needs clarification by the administrator so that suppliers can recover their property or, at least, know the extent of the bad debt. It is the supplier who has to prove they own the stock by going into the plant and labelling their goods. But this just isn't working.

"Some are being given appointments way into the future by which time the administrator may well have gone.

"We want the Government to allow an immediate refund of VAT on Rover bad debts. It is possible to apply for this refund in six months' time, but that will be too late."

One Midland supplier, who asked not to be named, said his firm had been badly affected by the crisis and was now considering the future of his 60-strong workforce.

He said: "MG Rover represents about 20 per cent of our business, and this is affecting us.

"We are not going to have to make any redundancies yet, but we are going to have to look very carefully at our manning levels."

Manufacturing union Amicus has revealed that up to 1,500 jobs have already been lost at car parts suppliers.

The union said it feared even more losses, which could eventually mount to 20,000 if last ditch attempts to save volume car production at Longbridge failed.

Tony Murphy, national automotive officer for Amicus, said an estimated 60 to 70 per cent of the jobs lost in the components industry would be in the Midlands.

He said: "Already we have been advised of about 1,500 jobs going.

"But we will not know about a lot because of firms finishing agency people or ending short term contracts.

"A lot more will be in smaller companies who will not notify us, or those that are not unionised.

"People think we exaggerate when we talk about 20,000 jobs being lost, but that is what it is going to be."