THE Vale of Glamorgan Council has begun the 2023/24 budget-setting process but warned that money is tight for services.

Funding from the Welsh Government is yet to be confirmed and the council has said that even "the most optmistic estimate" will lead to difficult decisions regarding services.

A report will be considered by the council this week highlights a "significant shortfall" between projected income and the amount needed to maintain services and respond to situations.

Cllr Lis Burnett, leader of the council, said: “The current economic climate is extremely tough for everyone, and the council is no exception.

"Our financial situation is absolutely unprecedented as we bid to overcome a considerable funding shortfall.

"Never before have we been in such a challenging position.

"The process of setting the budget will require difficult and potentially unpalatable choices to be made.

"I want to be open and honest with residents about that.

"However, we will continue to look for new and innovative ways to overcome these challenges and the views of the community will play a key role in deciding the way forward.

"Of paramount importance is protecting the essential services relied upon by our most vulnerable residents.

"Providing social care and free school meals may come at a price, but the cost of removing these services would be catastrophic."

The budget will have to go through several stages before being finalised in March.

A report going to this week's cabinet warns of a £24m funding gap for the year 2023/24 and recommends the authority should lobby the Welsh Government for "an appropriate settlement in the face of the unprecedented inflationary pressures".

However the Welsh Government will be battling its own inflationary pressures, potentially in the face of budget tightening in Westminster too, so there is no certainty the council's requests will be successful.

After being considered by the cabinet, the proposals will go before scrutiny committees before undergoing a public consultation.

The budget will be finalised in a full council meeting in March 2023.