This year the Welsh budget is the toughest I can remember.

It highlights the stark difficulties and painful decisions facing the government in terms of available resources.

We are facing this situation not because of some act of God, but as the consequence of decisions taken by one of most economically illiterate UK governments in history.

The shambolic Truss budget cost the UK more than £30 billion.

Had this financial incompetence not happened, more money would have been available for the Welsh Government to navigate its way through this economic emergency.

And our mortgage payments would have been lower.

And here in Senedd, the Welsh Tories still want to spend money that doesn’t exist, money that has already been wasted in Westminster.

You would expect a serious opposition to understand the financial crisis facing Wales and provide serious scrutiny and serious alternatives to what the Welsh government are proposing.

Their demands for greater expenditure and lower taxes are not serious alternatives. You cannot reduce taxes and expect high quality public services and a civilised society.

The Welsh Tories sound as financially incompetent as their Tory counterparts in Westminster.

Wales deserves better.

What we need is to set the basis for a different way of managing UK finances. We need to have a needs based formula to redistribute funding throughout the UK and we need to have an independent UK budget office to prevent UK governments short-changing Wales.

We also need to have an honest conversation about tax.

We are all paying more tax, not because we are getting better investment in public services; but because we have a failed Brexit which is reducing economic growth, a failed economic policy, and failed management of the UK economy for over a decade.

As a consequence, we have broken public services which are screaming out for cash.

When I look around Wales and the UK, I see a place being diminished, an impoverished country, where our public spaces, services and places are reduced, where inequality and poverty are now what defines what it is to living in the UK.

We all want to see resilient and functioning public services, we all want to pay public sector workers the salaries they deserve, and we all want to invest in our country, our people, our communities.

For this to happen, we need to pay taxes that will pay for that investment.