Birmingham has missed out on cash for urgently-needed work to dozens of schools because the council hasn’t finished drawing up its proposals, Ministers have revealed.
Children’s Secretary Ed Balls has given six local authorities the green light to spend £400 million on building new schools.
But he said Birmingham was excluded from the funding package - because it “fell just short of being ready”.
It means more than 50 schools in the city are still waiting to learn when they will be refurbished under the council’s ambitious £2.4 billion Building Schools for the Future project.
Ministers are now to meet a local MP, after he demanded an explanation.
Richard Burden (Lab Northfield) said: “There are schools in our city which urgently need this rebuilding work and I am worried that the local authority is failing to get its act together.”
So far, 10 city schools are being redeveloped and the Government has given the green light to redevelop 20 more.
But there are more than 80 schools in the city, and most of them still don’t know when work will go ahead.
The Building Schools for the Future programme has been heavily publicised by both the Government and the city council. It was announced by the Government in 2003, and Ministers promised every school in the country would be rebuilt by 2020.
Mr Balls revealed in the House of Commons that Birmingham had missed out on the latest round of funding.
He said: “Birmingham, Cumbria and Gloucestershire fell just short of being ready, but with some extra work they will be first in line to enter the programme at the next available opportunity.”
Mr Burden asked Ministers to explain why Birmingham was excluded. He told Schools Minister Vernon Coaker: “Although I am aware that it has benefited from Building Schools for the Future investment in the earlier waves, I am sure that he will share my disappointment that the majority of Birmingham secondary schools still have no idea when they will be refurbished or rebuilt under the Building Schools for the Future programme.”
The Minister told him: “Before we can agree a programme for a local authority, that authority has to demonstrate its readiness to deliver. There is a proper set of criteria that local authorities have to abide by, as well as a proper assessment process, which is rigorously assessed.”
He said Birmingham was not ready to build new schools but it was “next on the runway”. Mr Coaker also agreed to meet Mr Burden to discuss his concerns further.
A city council spokesman said: “There is always stiff competition for each phase of Building Schools for the Future . . . Ed Balls has said we are first in line to enter the programme at the next opportunity and we are confident we will be able to gain agreement on this.”