CBI director general Sir Digby Jones has called for the Phoenix four to hand over some of the money they have taken from MG Rover to help workers who were made redundant.

Sir Digby branded the behaviour of John Towers and his business partners as ?ap-palling? as he spoke about a ?sad and tragic day? for the Midlands.

But he insisted that Birmingham will bounce back stronger from the MG Rover crisis.

He told The Birmingham Post: ?Having been born a mile from Longbridge and with 16 members of my wider family having been engaged there in one way or another, I am very very sad at the events.

?Although the people at Longbridge worrying about paying their mortgages may not think so, I think there is still great hope.

?Manufacturing in Britain is in great shape. More different car makers make their vehicles in Britain than any other country in the world.?

Sir Digby said he was sure many of those made unemployed would eventually find work, and he had already received inquiries from other employers.

He said: ?All week, I have been inundated with firms contacting the CBI saying they need 30 or 40 workers. One person from Cardiff got in touch to say they needed 300.

?Although many of the workers from Longbridge are not going to go down to Cardiff, it shows there are still opportunities out there.

?What we have to do is match their requirements to the workers. I think most of the workers will find jobs.?

Sir Digby applauded the Government for resisting the temptation to plough more money into MG Rover, which he acknowledged must have been appealing during an election campaign.

?Birmingham has never failed anyone. It has got a track record of re-inventing itself, with developments like the NEC and the ICC which have succeeded in the face of competition from London.?

But he was scathing about the conduct of the Phoenix four, who bought the car maker from BMW for #10 in 2000.

?It was ultimately the wrong business plan, making the wrong car. The Rover 75 is a tremendous car, but it was in the most competitive sector of the market.

?You cannot be a volume car-maker and compete when you only make 100,000 cars a year and only employ 6,000 people.?

He added: ?The behaviour of the Phoenix Four has been appalling. We at the CBI have done a great deal of work to ensure rewards are for success and not encourage them for failure.

?If you take over a company five years ago with #500 million, burn that cash, and put 6,000 people out of

work, and pay yourselves #40 million, that is an appalling example.?

He said that while the directors had not done anything legally wrong, they were morally wrong.

Sir Digby said: ?Perhaps the Phoenix directors should look into their hearts and put a lot back into the pot to help the 6,000 workers.?

He spoke of another potential disaster among the Rover dealerships - with 8,000 jobs threatened across the country.

He said: ?It is sad and tragic, but now the uncertainty is over people can look forward. Birmingham has never let anyone down and it won?t this time.?