AROUND half of the money councillors are given to spend in their community has not been spent in the last two years.

Only two areas have spent the total of £4,500 allocated to councillors in each ward under the Elected Member Discretionary Budgets during that period.

In total, 45 per cent of the budget was still available when each elected member was given a further £1,500 to spend this year.

The unspent money from previous years will be rolled onto the 2019/20 allocation.

The scheme was set up in December 2017 for councillors to support local projects and initiatives within their ward and wider township at their discretion.

Each elected member is given a pre-paid payment card which gives them autonomy in allocating the funding as they wish.

Information on where the money is spent is logged on a portal which is managed by council staff and available to the public upon request.

Cabinet member for communities Tamoor Tariq was asked to provide a breakdown of spending at the council meeting in April.

His response explained that the council will publish case studies of where these budgets have been used to support local projects on a new digital platform.

However, the figures provided by the Labour councillor was incorrect due to administrative issues at the town hall.

The correct figures, released at the request of the Bury Times, reveal that only £41,801.96 was spent by councillors in their communities out of a possible £76,500.

The only wards to spent all of their budgets were Holyrood, which Lib Dem leader Tim Pickstone represents, and Tottington, represented by three Tories.

Cllr Pickstone said: "We welcomed the decision to provide councillors with small delegated budgets to spend on priorities in their own wards. Liberal Democrat councillors in Holyrood ward have had no difficulty making sure all of that money has gone to the right place supporting a whole variety of community groups and initiatives.

"There are so many good causes that need our support so I am amazed that only two of the 17 wards in Bury have spent the money that has been allocated to them."

Councillors in Radcliffe West spent the least money at £312 out of a possible £4,5000 while Besses and St Mary's wards spent around £700 each.

Tory leader James Daly represents North Manor were councillors spent most of their budget, leaving only £291.20 at the end of the two-year period.

He said: "It's important that all local councillors use tax payers money wisely to support those local groups which make a difference in their wards and over the next 12 months councillors will have the opportunity to spend their allocation of £1,000 plus any money that was not spent in their wards in the last financial year."