Conservatives running Birmingham City Council have been accused of favouring community-based projects in the Tory heartland of Sutton Coldfield at the expense of poorer districts.

The claim was levelled by Ian Ward, deputy leader of the council Labour group, who said it was unfair that more than £1 million from the local services capital budget had been allocated to Sutton while only £146,000 was available for Hodge Hill.

He claimed the distribution of funding reflected bias towards Sutton Coldfield - where the four wards are represented by 12 Tory councillors, comprising just under half of the Conservative group.

Coun Ward (Shard End) said the decision by the council's ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition meant a planned major refurbishment of Saltley Leisure Centre was at risk.

The scheme, which has been on the drawing board for years, has a £90,000 funding gap which could have been plugged with cash from the local services budget, according to Coun Ward.

Instead, the Hodge Hill District committee has been told by the council to borrow £90,000. Repayment costs, taking interest into account, would be £23,000 a year over five years, making a total bill of £115,000.

Coun Ward said: "Sutton Coldfield has been allocated more than £1 million against £146,000 for Hodge Hill. It is impossible to come to any other conclusion than that there has been a big dose of political bias in arriving at these figures."

Projects given funding in Sutton Coldfield include:

* Sutton Town Hall clock refurbishment - £405,000

* Sutton library - £26,000

* Wyndley Pool windows replacement - £100,000

* Sutton Park visitor centre improvements - £250,000

The £146,000 allocated for Hodge Hill includes cash to refurbish the Ward End and Shard End libraries and the Firs and Bromford Cricket Club.

Council leader Mike Whitby (Con Harborne) said there was no political bias in the allocations. Councillor Ward was being "mischievous", he added.

Coun John Alden (Con Harborne), cabinet member for leisure, sport and culture, said: "If Coun Ward had wanted to do so he could have dealt with Saltley Leisure Centre a long time ago."