Birmingham MP Steve McCabe has branded broadcasting regulators Ofcom 'hapless' with an announcement over the future of the long-delayed Birmingham local TV licence imminent.

Birmingham-based Comux chief operations officer Clare Bramley revealed that a statement over the city licence following the collapse of BLTV amid debts of £170,000 would be made "very soon".

The chief executive of Comux, which oversees the entire local TV output across the UK, told the Post: "Ofcom is aware of the huge passion and desire of the local community for Birmingham to have its own local TV channel. I expect an announcement regarding the licence very soon.

"There have been other local licensees requesting slight delays to their planned launches, and, where reasonable, Ofcom has granted these."

But Selly Oak MP Mr McCabe said: "I think that Ofcom are hapless. I really do not think that we can have any faith in the judgement or decisions of Ofcom.

"Birmingham deserves a local TV station as much as anywhere else but I think that it will be in spite of Ofcom rather than because of them.

"I have spoken to the administrators, I have spoken to Clare Bramley, I have had discussions with Ofcom - I am not impressed.

"This has not been exceptionally great for the city, it has been a setback for the image of Birmingham - we deserve a local TV station as much as anywhere else."

The Post revealed earlier this month that a preferred bidder - thought to be a consortium including former ATV presenter Mike Prince and Chris Perry of voluntary classic TV group Kaleidoscope - had been rejected by Ofcom.

But administrators from Duff and Phelps have warned the launch of broadcasting by a new licence holder following the collapse of BLTV, also known as City TV, could be delayed by "many months".

Administrators have asked Ofcom to reconsider and said: "A failure to consent to the transfer application would result in significant loss of value and further delay by many months the launch.

"Consequently, the joint administrators have submitted a response to the points raised by the Broadcast Licensing Committee in determining that a transfer should not be sanctioned and requested that the BLC reconsider its decision.

"If Ofcom do not reverse their decision, they are likely to serve notice to revoke the licence. In such circumstances, no realisations will be made in the administration and there will be no return to creditors."

An Ofcom spokesperson: "Ofcom's concern is to act in the interests of the people of Birmingham by ensuring that its local TV channel fully meets their needs and is financially sustainable.

"We awarded the Birmingham licence to BLTV but unfortunately the company went into administration. Ofcom is considering a request from the administrator to transfer the licence. We're now carrying out due diligence on this request, which must be done properly, while doing so as quickly as possible for viewers in Birmingham."

It is understood Ofcom's ruling, which stated the licence had to be transferred by BLTV's original deadline of November 3, left the preferred bidder with insufficient time to complete a financial package to launch by the stipulated timetable.

But Ofcom could now agree to a delay which takes into account the timescale needed for the preferred bidders to draw up their plans - and tag in onto the November 3 deadline.

If so, Birmingham's long awaited local TV station could finally be up and running some time in the New Year - provided the plans meet with Ofcom's approval.

A report by Duff and Phelps said: "The bidding party comprises a number of established local broadcasters who are well connected in the Birmingham area."