Minutes of the December CPA meeting

There follow the minutes of our December meeting. Our next monthly meeting will be held on Wednesday 3 January at 7.30 p.m., at the wheelchair-accessible River Lane Centre, River Lane, Cambridge CB5 8HP.


Cambridge People's Assembly, 6 December 2017

  1. Agreement of the agenda
  2. Apologies for absence
  3. Approval of the minutes and matters arising
  4. Secretary's report
  5. Treasurer's report
  6. Report on Scrap the Pay Cap demo (Cambridge Labour Party/Trades Council), 18 November
  7. Report on our own action ahead of the government's budget, 20 November
  8. County Council budget, February 2018?
  9. Other business
  10. Next meeting

The venue was the River Lane Centre at 7.30 p.m. Present were Dan, Faraz, Hilary, Neil (secretary), and Martin B. (meeting chair).

1. Agreement of the agenda

The meeting accepted the draft agenda.

2. Apologies for absence

Jenny, Nicki (treasurer), and Richard M. (campaign chair) had sent their apologies.

3. Approval of the minutes and matters arising

The meeting approved the minutes and there were no matters arising.

4. Secretary's report

Neil reported 252 subscribers to the mailing list (last month 252), 968 Twitter followers (972), and 629 Facebook likes (633).

5. Treasurer's report

On behalf of Nicki, Neil reported overall funds of £961.54. Income was a £20 collection at the November meeting; expenditure was £100 on donations for Cambridge City Foodbank, £50 on a donation to the McDonald's workers' strike fund, £22.50 on venue hire (for July, August, and September), and the group's regular £5 donation to the national office.

6. Report on Scrap the Pay Cap demo, 18 November

All but one of those present and absent had joined this march and rally against the public sector pay cap, jointly called by Cambridge and District Trades Council and Cambridge Labour Party. The Cambridge News reported that 100 people marched in all. The rally afterwards had taken place in Little St Mary's Church, where Dan had spoken from the floor (in his own name, not that of the CPA).

Neil had been pleased by the size of the march, although it was a little quiet. Dan and Martin would have preferred to rally outdoors, even on a cold day, so that passers-by might have been involved.

7. Report on our own action ahead of the government's budget, 20 November

The CPA had carried out the action agreed in the last meeting, spending campaign funds on goods to donate to Cambridge City Foodbank as a protest against two government policies that were leaving people in desperate need: the Universal Credit system, and the public sector pay cap.

On 20 November six supporters had met at a supermarket, shopped for goods, and loaded Hilary's car. The group had prepared a press release with photos, which Neil as secretary had sent to the Cambridge News. He had previously announced what the group was doing in a letter to the paper (printed on 18 November).

The action had been enjoyable in itself, but overall disappointing as the paper had not run the story. The CPA had published a report on its blog ('Activists Donate to Food Bank in Protest at Universal Credit and Pay Caps'), but this could only have reached a relatively tiny audience. Dan noted that the action had however interested people on Facebook.

8. County Council budget, February 2018?

Neil proposed that the CPA should organize a demonstration against Cambridgeshire County Council's latest austerity budget on Tuesday 6 February. Dan stressed that this should be a joint action with other local groups and campaigns.

The group agreed that it would aim to have a large demo with wide participation in the centre of the town one weekend before the budget, and a small demo at Shire Hall, the council's headquarters, on the day of the budget. It should prepare a leaflet, setting out the cuts to be made and an alternative path of political struggle.

9. Other business

Neil announced that the campaign to save children's centres in Cambridgeshire from almost £1m of cuts by the county council was continuing even after the council's approval of the proposal. The campaign would hold its next meeting at The Fields Children's Centre on Galfrid Road, at 7.30 p.m. the next day, Thursday 7 December.

Martin announced that Stand Up to Racism mugs and bags were available for sale, to raise funds for the campaign.

10. Next meeting

The next meeting would be held at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday 3 January, at the same venue of the River Lane Centre.

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