Birmingham City Council officials were in talks with Treasury mandarins last night about a possible £140 million grant for the refurbishment of New Street Station.

Council regeneration director Clive Dutton and cabinet member Ken Hardeman met advisers to Gordon Brown at Downing Street to discuss a package of measures to help Birmingham in the wake of the MG Rover crisis.

Other issues on the table included the transfer of Whitehall departments to the West Midlands, potentially creating thousands of jobs, and the development of Birmingham as a Science City.

The talks were arranged following a meeting between Tony Blair and Birmingham City Council leader Mike Whitby. The pair spoke privately for about half an hour when the Prime Minister visited Birmingham last Friday - after MG Rover's collapse was confirmed.

Coun Whitby put to the Prime Minister a list to kickstart the Birmingham economy and create jobs.

Coun Whitby said: "We had a very positive meeting and I asked Mr Blair to do everything possible to help Birmingham look to the future and progress beyond the short term difficulties of the MG Rover collapse.

"The redevelopments and expansion of New Street Station is essential, not only for Birmingham and the West Midlands, but for the country as a whole. We are talking about a vitally important rail crossroads at the heart of the country."

Coun Whitby hopes to deliver a £340 million redevelopment of New Street Station, but the project is £140 million short. He said he hoped the Government would come up with the means to plug the gap. Coun Whitby was speaking after opening the new Birmingham office in London.