Hundreds of thousands of pounds set aside by Swindon Borough Council will be used to support workers at Honda's South Marston plant and in the local supply chain.

When the Japanese car giant first announced its intention to leave the town in February, councillors unanimously voted to set aside the money from the authority's budget as a contingency.

With the company's decision to close the plant in 2021 now confirmed, that money will be used, but there is no specific plan on where and how it will be used yet.

Oliver Donachie, the Conservative cabinet's member for economy and place said: "This administration has set aside £200,000 to support the Honda workers and the supply chain.

"We have no pre-conceived ideas about the best use and will be looking to heed the professional advice of the Honda & supply chain coordinating steering group and task groups."

He added that a two-year deadline would focus attention: "this week's announcement by Honda means that we now have a clear target of 2021 to address the use of the site, redeployment of the Honda associates through training and new job opportunities, and extending support to the wider communities impacted by this move.

"We will continue to work with Unions, associates, Honda UK and the government’s task group to achieve the best outcomes for Swindon.”

The council's leader David Renard added his view that the council would be seeking inward investments: "This news is devastating for the families but we need to reassure businesses and investors that Swindon is resilient and has a bright future. Swindon remains open for business."

Before the recent local elections, the opposition Labour group said it would increase the fund tenfold - the group's leader Jim Grant said the money would come from the £2 million to be raised by the agreed sale of the County Ground to Swindon Town FC: "We need as much as money as possible to hold as a contingency in order to attract a new manufacturer to the Honda plant. It is high quality and will be of interest to other employers, but they may need alterations to it and other towns and cities across the country will be competing for their relocation. There may also be grants to attract a new manufacturer to the plant that need match-funding and Honda’s employees may need training to adapt their skills to a different sort of manufacturing. All this will cost money.

"Honda was such a crucial employer to Swindon we cannot leave its employees in the lurch. We have to do all we can to find them new employment. I worry that the £200,000 while not unhelpful, will not be nearly enough to find to help with these kinds of issues.”