Councils in Suffolk say they are well placed to weather the financial storm amid concerns cuts will have to be made to services as the Government seeks to make savings.

In the coming weeks, an announcement is expected on the funding settlement for local authorities, but fears have been raised that councils could feel the pinch as the Government seeks to make efficiency savings from public sector budgets.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents local authorities, is particularly concerned about the prospect of cuts to services.

In a comment piece on the LGA website, Cllr James Jamieson said: “The news that government departments have been tasked with identifying efficiency savings from public sector budgets has sent a collective shiver down the spine of local government.”

However, district councils in the county have been making preparations to accommodate changes to their financial settlement, including work to identify savings and efficiencies without needing to cut services.

A report prepared for Babergh District Council’s cabinet in September forecasted a small budget deficit during the financial year 2022/23, while neighbouring Mid Suffolk District Council was predicting a small budget surplus.

Meanwhile, West Suffolk Council is looking to make savings by changing the way services are operated, which could include sharing services and encouraging the use of digital technology to access support.

East Suffolk Council has also pledged not to cut services and has set out a financial strategy to ensure policies and objectives can continue to be delivered.

The Babergh report identified an overspend of £782,000 on June 30, although £500,000 had been set aside in the Inflationary Pressure Reserve, which would be used to reduce the overspend, while savings of £282,000 would be made in the budgeted contribution to the Strategic Priorities Reserve.

In Mid Suffolk, an overspend of £785,000 was forecast on June 30, which would also be met through £500,000 in the Inflationary Pressure Reserve, while £286,000 in savings had been found in the budget for the Growth and Efficiency Fund.

A spokesperson for Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils said: “Because of prudent financial management and investments over recent years to make us less reliant on central government funding, we are, thankfully, in a better position than some other councils to continue to support our residents, communities and staff through the financial challenges ahead.”

She added a detailed budget proposal for 2023/24 would be developed and announced once the local government settlement was known, ready to be debated by committees, the cabinet and full council.

The spokesperson added: “We are keenly aware of the financial pressures that people are experiencing and will do everything possible to support our districts.

“We must find the money to continue to provide essential services and support for our residents and communities, especially those most in need - and ensure that our districts can thrive despite the national and global challenges we all face.

A West Suffolk Council spokesperson said: “We, like every local authority up and down the country, are seeing financial pressures.

“We won’t know the full extent of our funding challenges until the local government settlement is set out which we are expecting to hear more about in the coming weeks. We will then be working through these challenges with councillors as we set our budget early next year.”

Cllr Maurice Cook, cabinet member for resources at East Suffolk Council, said: “We are committed to delivering essential services to the communities of East Suffolk.

“The council has a strong financial position, a track record of prudent financial management and has set out a comprehensive Medium Term Financial Strategy to ensure financial capacity to deliver policies and objectives. As a result of that, we do not anticipate having to cut services or reduce our capital programme.

“Our residents are and will remain, at the heart of our financial decisions. In setting an annual budget, we not only seek to improve the lives and outcomes of local people, but also to develop assets and income streams to prepare for whatever may lay ahead.”