LESS than a third of Ilkley Parish Council's awards and projects budget has been spent after the first six months of this financial year.

Ilkley Parish Council has committed a total of just £14,630 to community schemes so far this year, from a total awards and projects budget of £45,000, despite charging Ilkley taxpayers more this year.

Not all cash committed so far has been spent - and the council is yet to spend £10,500 of money it pledged to community projects last year.

The parish council this year levied a £99,000 precept on residents of the town - an increase for some residents of around 55 per cent on the previous precept, which was charged to households across the combined Ilkley, Burley and Menston parish.

The council has been criticised in the past for carrying over large sums of public money it has failed to spend in the year the cash was collected from residents.

Awards and Projects Committee chairman, Councillor Mike Gibbons, last week urged community groups to apply for a share in parish awards cash, or give their suggestions for spending to councillors. A status report on Ilkley Parish Council's spending for the first six months of this financial year was presented to the council's new Finance Committee on Monday Parish council chairman Councillor Brian Mann, however, believes the council's spending is on course' for this year.

He said: "There are one or two projects in the pipeline from us and there is always the thought that somebody out there will have a brilliant idea for the for the town."

Councillor Mann also pointed out that the Awards and Projects Committee last week recommended giving a total of £8,680 to further causes, including the Darwin Gardens Trust, the Friends of the Kings Hall and Ilkley Players. The full council is expected to consider the recommendation at its November meeting.

The largest awards and projects sums committed in the last six months were £5,000 towards disabled facilities at Ilkley Pool, and a £4,500 contribution to Wharfedale District Scout Council work at its Curly Hill centre.

Neither sum has been spent, as the council is awaiting the submission of invoices before handing over the money. Other large sums committed include £3,480 for the digital aerial survey of Ilkley Moor.

The unspent money from last year's awards and projects pots is £3,500 for improvements to a riverside path and £7,000 contribution to the public toilets at White Wells spa.

At the end of September this year, Ilkley Parish Council had spent a total of £41,886 from its overall budget for 2006 to 2007.