everyone living across this region ought to be concerned over the state of the finances at Cardiff Bay. The Welsh Government is looking at ways to cut costs after Mark Drakeford revealed a budget shortfall of £900 million two weeks ago.

According to reports, ministers have been asked to look at ways of cutting spending after the First Minister said in a statement that this was the toughest financial situation the government had faced since devolution.

“When we made our budget for 2023-24, we drew on all our available resources to protect frontline services and provide targeted cost-of-living support to individuals and the economy,” Mr Drakeford said.

”But even after doing all that, our financial position after the UK Spring Budget in March, was up to £900m lower in real terms than when that budget was set by the UK Government at the time of the last spending review in 2021.

“This is the toughest financial situation we have faced since devolution.”

The First Minister put the blame squarely on Westminster, blaming the Conservatives for their mismanagement over the past 13 years, and for ”unfunded commitments made by the UK Government, particularly in relation to public sector pay”.

While there may be more than an element of truth in his comments, there is also the reality that our representatives in Wales have charge in how the funding from Westminster is spent, and they handed back some £115m in unspent funds last year alone.

The absence of European funding and the failure of Westminster to replace those monies has had a negative impact on infrastructure projects in particular.

This dire financial position in Cardiff Bay means that there will be less money coming down to our local councils — and that inevitably means higher taxes and poorer services.

Those who run our councils will be planning for bad news indeed — and that means so should we.

There will be less money for the NHS, for transport, and roads — whether we drive at 20mph or not — less funds for policing and less for every aspect of our life.

Brace yourselves. Things are going to get ugly very soon indeed.