Legal action should be taken against the Government to reclaim the millions spent on discarded school building projects, Sandwell Borough Council's deputy leader has claimed.

Millions of pounds has been spent by local authorities in the West Midlands in preparation for the £55 billion Building Schools for the Future programme.

The money has financed public consultations and the recruitment of designers and architects amongst other preparatory work.

Birmingham City Council spent £14 million to facilitate proposals for 13 new schools in the city which are no longer going ahead.

Sandwell Council spent more than £2 million in preparation for nine new schools which have now been scrapped.

Councillor Steve Eling, deputy leader of Sandwell Council, said the authority was already taking legal advice ahead of a possible legal battle.

He said: “If we feel the decision is unfair to Sandwell Council we will challenge it, and if necessary, challenge it in the courts.

“We have an obligation to our taxpayers to fight for the money we have needlessly spent.”

He was speaking as shadow Education Minister Ed Balls visited Menzies School in West Bromwich, one of the nine Sandwell projects now on the scrap heap, to discuss how to fight the proposals.

Mr Balls said: “This is a huge blow to the aspirations of school children in the area. We must do all we can to ensure these schemes go ahead.”

Despite the huge expenditure from Birmingham City Council, there are no such plans to bring the Government to account through legal means.

Coun Les Lawrence, the city’s education chief, said: “We have to consider the implications on a school by school basis to see if there is a way we can find alternative arrangements to proceed with the rebuilds.

“We will have to see how we can minimise the loss jobs and consequent cost to the state.”

City councillor Jon Hunt, chairman of the Children and Education Scrutiny Committee, suggested the legal route would see the council “send good money after bad”.

Authorities have spent more than £160 million on cancelled school rebuilding projects according to research by the Local Government Association.

Shireen Ritchie, chairman of the LGA’s Children and Young People’s Board, said: “Town halls which have embraced this initiative should not be out of pocket.”