Cuts to services may be on the cards after county councillors in Suffolk were warned to expect the worst when next year's government financial settlement is unveiled.

They expect to get the first formal indications of how much the Department for Housing and Communities is planning to allow them to spend in the autumn with the final settlement confirmed just before Christmas.

But informal discussions between councils, civil servants, and ministers have left councillors worried about what is likely to be on offer.

One Suffolk Conservative councillor said he had been warned by senior colleagues that the outlook was grim.

He said: "It sounds very difficult and it could mean that many of the policies that we are very keen to develop have to be scaled back."

Councillors have been warned that provision of adult care services and some SEND work could have to be cut back in a bid to save money.

There are fears this could be the toughest budget settlement since the early days of austerity.

Suffolk is not the only council likely to face these challenges - authorities across the country are fearing the worst.

Often government support for councils increases during the run-up to a general election - and with a poll having to be called by the end of next year it had been thought that a less harsh settlement might be on the way.

But Whitehall sources have told councils that government finances are so difficult, they should not expect much help.

However, opposition leader Andrew Stringer, a Green councillor, was sceptical: "We have heard this before. They tell us how bad things will be and then when they are not quite that bad it's a great triumph!

"It's a bit like crying wolf. We'll have to see how things are when the details come out."

Meanwhile, Labour deputy leader Sandy Martin did not know how bad things would be next year - but said the experience of the last 13 years had been very bad.

He said: "The situation in local government has been dire since 2010 with cuts following cuts.

"People have suffered and ultimately it has cost the nation even more as more people end up in hospitals or prisons because the services they relied on have been taken away."