Pawb a'i Farn is a Welsh Language version of 'Question Time'. It goes out at 8.30 0n Thursday evenings. I rate it higher than the English Language version, mainly because of the subtle skills of Dewi Llwyd, its long standing programme presenter. None of the preening and 'please notice me' posturing which has become so fashionable in recent years - just a relaxed way of coaxing opinions from panelists and audience. If I could choose just one programme on which to be a guest, it would be Pawb a'i Farn, and my wish was granted for this week's edition, broadcast live from my old school at Llanfair Caereinion.
First question up concerned the Assembly Government's intention to spend £42 million on refurbishing the Assembly Government offices at Cathays Park. I said that my advice to the Assembly Government is postponement. Fully accept that money needs to be spent on the buildings, and accept that where safety and maintenance of the fabric is concerned its sensible to get on with it. But a decision to go ahead with a major refurbishment costing £42 million at present would be received by the people of Wales with both astonishment and outrage.
Thousands of jobs are being lost. Real wage levels are falling. Incomes from savings are falling. Incomes from pensions are falling. Local Councils are adjusting to a very low Revenue Support Grant, and reduced capacity of Council Taxpayers to fill the gap. Teachers jobs are under threat. There is a desperate demand for social housing as supply of new private sector housing dries up. And the Assembly Government is contemplating spending £42 million on Cathay's Park.
It was a surprise to me that anyone in the audience should speak in support of this spending - but there were at least two that I can recall. I didn't go too strong on this, preferring to advise 'postponement' rather than cancellation of the proposal. Civic buildings do need refurbishment from time to time, and there has been no opportunity to consider the background to this.