A meeting between relatives of those killed in the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings and the British Home Secretary has ended this evening with no decision on whether or not the British government will fund the relatives’ legal representation at the upcoming resumed inquest into the atrocity.

Twenty-one people died when bombs exploded in two Birmingham city centre pubs on 21 November 1974.

Six Irishmen were wrongly convicted of the crime and served over 16 years in prison before those convictions were finally overturned.

Since then, families of some of those who were killed have campaigned to bring those who were really responsible for the atrocity to justice.

A spokesperson for the group Justice for the 21 said they were frustrated and disappointed that a decision on funding had not been forthcoming at today's meeting and that they were now "left in limbo".

However, Julie Hambleton, whose sister Maxine died in the bombing, said Home Secretary Amber Rudd had listened to their arguments about why they needed funding and why they needed legal representation and on that basis a line of communication has now opened up. 

They were told a decision would be made before the end of this month.

Ms Hambleton said that time is of the essence in this matter as their legal team is unable to move forward to do the necessary research before a preliminary inquest hearing in November.

In June, a coroner ruled that the inquest should resume following the receipt of what she termed "significant new information" suggesting that West Midlands Police might have missed two potential warnings about the bombs.

That inquest is due to take place next year.

During the review hearings families of some of those killed in the blasts in the Mulberry Bush and Tavern in the Town pubs put forward a claim that the British state had knowledge of the attacks planned by the IRA before they were carried out.

In the days after the bombings, inquests into the deaths were opened but immediately closed without any finding because the men thought to be responsible - the co-called Birmingham Six - were in police custody.

The families of those killed have applied for a financial scheme to fund legal representation for the relatives during the inquest.