Many councillors are struggling to cope with cuts in government grants of nearly 30 per cent. On Wednesday the Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles is due to announce how funding will be distributed among English councils in 2013-14.
Although they've been spared an extra 1% cut imposed on other public services, few councillors will be jumping for joy. There is growing concern in town halls that while the government says it wants to protect spending on schools, hospitals and overseas aid, councils are seen - in their view - as fair game.
I've been talking to the Liberal Democrat leader of Portsmouth City Council, Gerald Vernon Jackson, about how he's been cutting spending. With difficulty, he told me.
This interview was broadcast on Sunday 16th December on BBC Radio 4's The Westminster Hour.