MORE than a million pounds of unspent council money is to be splashed on free recycling boxes, better parking enforcement and special projects to help disadvantaged children in schools.

City of York Council underspent by £620,000 last year, and has £761,000 of contingency funds left over. Next week senior councillors will be asked to approve spending plans for some of that money with education and environment projects set to benefit.

Deputy leader of the council Cllr Andrew Waller said: “Frontline services have always remained our number one priority for the Liberal Democrats and if approved by the executive, this additional investment goes a long way to reaffirm that commitment.

“Subject to executive approval, this additional funding can be put to good use in order to carry out extensive highways repairs and considerably improve our public spaces.”

The money will be used to create a new work programme for footpath repairs and set up an extra pothole repairs team.

Cash is also going to enforcement teams to crack down on dangerous parking especially around schools, and there is money set aside to help voluntary and community groups which want to improve green spaces in the city.

Some £20,000 will be used to fund up to two free recycling boxes for residents every year, and £136,000 will be used for extra street cleaning and bin emptying in the city centre.

Cllr Waller also said the “attainment gap” between disadvantaged children and their better off peers is a problem in York, so £100,000 of the money is going towards educational projects to help tackle that.

He said: “We know that the attainment gap in York is an area of significant concern and that is why we are proposing to ring-fence this funding in order to tackle the issue head on.”

A specialist Social Mobility Coordinator will be employed, and the money will also help roll-out a pioneering digital project to encourage families to be more engaged, and will pay for speech and language work for very young children.