SAVINGS needed by Wiltshire Council have grown by over £12m compared to predictions made last year about future cuts.

Last year’s budget papers outlined that £15m had to be found to balance the budget in 2019/20. Papers published now show that figure has risen to £27m.

A plan to achieve the cuts includes increased revenue targets, cuts in services and efficiencies to make teams deliver the same service on a tighter budget.

Increased savings have also been outlined for the year 2020/2021, as the council believes that £25m will need to be found, up from its prediction of £11m last year.

Cllr Matthew Dean described the variance as “significant” during a scrutiny meeting into the proposed budget, due to be agreed at a full council meeting on February 26.

He added: “We were told a year ago that in this financial year we would need to make £15m and now we need to make £27m.

“I would suggest the change has come from increasing demand from adult social care and children services and challenges around not delivering this transformational agenda. I wonder why you thought that gap has opened up to such a significant amount.”

Cabinet member for finance Cllr Phillip Whitehead said although the figure was significant, it was likely to change again by next year as new pressures on council services are created.

Cabinet member for finance Cllr Phillip Whitehead said: “If you ask me now if my figures for 2023/2024 were correct I would say no, this is a medium term financial plan. Yes we will see changes because factors will change but we budget every single day of the year.

“10 per cent of looked after children weren’t in the county five years ago and now 10 per cent have come from a different county. Could we have forecast that? No. Next year what I said just now will be wrong.

“We are working to make it more transparent so every year we can be more accurate again.”