The first shots in the May council elections have been fired, with Labour accusing Birmingham's Conservative-led coalition of diverting money from an anti-poverty fund to benefit wealthy parts of the city.
The council leadership manipulated the rules r egarding allocation of £17 million of the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund in order to reward its own supporters in Conservative areas, according to Labour opposition leader Sir Albert Bore.
Sir Albert (Lab Ladywood) said the changes - with an additional £125,000 given to Sutton Coldfield for community projects - were an example of robbing the poor to give to the rich.
Socially deprived areas, including Aston, Sparkbrook and Bordesley Green, will lose a proportion of their NRF funding as a result.
Introduced by the Government in 2001, the NRF allocates extra resources to local authorities for the poorest 25 per cent of council wards across the country. Birmingham will receive £70 million over the next two years.
The system has always been fraught with political difficulties because ten of Birmingham's 40 wards are not poor enough to qualify.
The council, under its former Labour leadership, decided to use some of its own money to give the ten wards a small NRF allocation.
Leaders of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition decided to tweak the system by giving each ward a £50,000 "community chest" allocation, regardless of social deprivation.
Some of this money came from top-slicing NRF allocations, which meant that deprived wards had more money taken away than wealthier areas.
Sparkbrook suffered a net loss of £34,000, Washwood Heath £30,500 and Aston £28,000.
Conservative wards, including Harborne, Sutton New Hall, Sutton Vesey and Sutton Four Oaks, received an additional £204,000.
If the entire NRF allocation was distributed according to deprivation indices 30 wards would receive more, according to Labour. Bordesley Green would get an additional £77,000, Aston £61,000 and Sparkbrook £105,000.
Sir Albert added: "Money allocated by the Government to assist the most deprived areas of Birmingham has been taken from them and allocated instead to more affluent areas."