There is no money to carry out the long-awaited rebuild of Birmingham magistrates court, the Government has warned.
Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said it was one of a number of major projects announced by Labour even though there was no cash to pay for them.
He said: “The last government committed to spend money it simply did not have. It made commitments it knew the next government could not fulfil and in doing so cynically played politics with the hopes of our communities.”
Plans for a state-of-the-art £94 million building on Moor Street Queensway – which would have replaced the outdated Victoria Law Court – were put on ice last month when the Ministry of Justice said the project was deferred “until we are sure it is affordable”.
But Mr Alexander has now told the House of Commons he has included Birmingham magistrates court in a list of projects which could be scrapped if officials decide it does not represent good value for money.
A decision will be made in the Government’s spending review, to take place in the autumn.
A range of other projects were simply cancelled outright, including a planned £450 million hospital in Hartlepool and a visitor’s centre at Stonehenge.
Mr Alexander said: “We are determined to tackle the unprecedented budget deficit and bad financial management we have seen over the past decade, but are equally determined to do this in a way that is fair and responsible.
“As a result of the poor decisions made by the previous Government, I have taken the decision to cancel certain projects that do not represent good value for money, and suspend others pending full consideration in the Spending Review.
“We have also found another spending black hole in the previous Government’s plans - projects had been approved with no money in place to pay for them. I am determined to deal with this problem head-on and ensure we never see this kind of irresponsible financial planning in Government again.”
But Liam Byrne (Lab Hodge Hill), the Labour shadow Chief Treasury Secretary and Birmingham MP, said the country would be “aghast this afternoon at your attack on jobs, your attack on construction workers, your attack on the industries of the future and the cancellation of a hospital”.