Almost £46m was written off on court building projects cancelled after the 2010 election, the government has revealed.

The full cost of building projects that never came to fruition was laid out in a written response to a question in the House of Commons last week.

The biggest outlay has been at Birmingham’s planned new magistrates’ courts, an £80m project originally given planning permission in 2009.

The scheme was cancelled when the present government came to power in 2010, but not before almost £30m had been spent on planning costs and securing the lease.

Other aborted projects that cost around £16m in total were at Aylesbury, West Bromwich, Bradford, Gloucester, Snaresbrook and Sunderland.

A spokesman for HM Courts & Tribunals Service said that the projects were approved before the spending review in 2010. ‘As a result of changing operational requirements and the need to deliver savings each project was reassessed, because they did not deliver sufficient value for money,’ he said.

‘By reappraising each project robustly we stopped any further expenditure being incurred.’

The spokesman added: ‘HM Courts & Tribunals Service now has rigorous appraisal processes in place to ensure that any estate projects are fully justified, offer value for taxpayers’ money and deliver significant improvements to court and tribunal users.’

Shadow justice minister Andy Slaughter, who had asked the question of the Ministry of Justice, said he was ‘staggered’ at the amounts the government had written off in cancelling the building projects.