Christmas is a time for giving - and the government seems to have taken that to heart by waiting until the festive season before handing out presents to local councils!

Finance chiefs at Suffolk County Council are not expecting to hear the final details of their financial settlement from the government until the end of next week - possibly just 48 hours before Christmas Day itself!

They have had to prepare financial papers for councillors which will be released then without knowing the exact figures - although there have been nods and winks from the Department for Housing and Local Government to enable them to prepare for the announcement.

The council papers should provide the first clues about the official budget for the financial year 2023/4 and are due to be discussed by Suffolk's scrutiny committee at its meeting on January 10.

That will be the first opportunity for councillors to flag up any concerns they have about the budget.

It will then to go the council's cabinet at the end of January and will be debated by the full council in early February.

When the papers are published at Christmas there should be the first indication of how high the council tax bills for homes are likely to be - although the exact figure will not be seen until the cabinet meeting has its look at the documents in February.

The final council tax figure will be set by the full meeting of the county council on March 16.

Initial reports suggest that the figures for the government's settlement may be more generous than some had feared before the Chancellor's Autumn Statement - but could still be quite tight as the government tries to rein back on its spending over the next few years.