Minutes: Steering group meeting 19.11.13

Chair: Matthew Reeve

An alternative peoples budget for Sheffield

  • Proposal from Shirley from the Benefits Justice Campaign to make an alternative budget for Sheffield based on a needs budget, not within the amount central government allocate. The aim being to produce a document with key themes and aims to present to the council and elsewhere.
  • It was suggested that at meetings every other week, the discussion should be focused around a particular service and we should ask people who work within and use these services to come and discuss what they need to work effectively and offer the best they can.
  • There was a debate about whether we should be addressing the cuts at local level or whether it would be better to aim arguments at the government as they have cut council funds by 30+% and that money needs to be saved somewhere. Some suggested we should counter every council cut and that we should name and shame councillors. Others disagreed.
  • It was suggested that two approaches need to be made, one at local government and one at central government.
  • The Green Party are also preparing an alternative budget
  • Jack said the council welcomed suggestions about how the budget could be designed given the money central government has allocated.
  • It was discussed that important choices can be made at local level.
  • It was suggested that a leaflet be made with an alternative budget and that publicity be raised to expose that funding to Sheffield City Council has been unfair in comparison to other places. It was discussed whether the alternative budget would be within the amount central government had allocated. Some people felt strongly this could not be the case as then they would be accepting Austerity and the Peoples Assembly is very much against this.

Peoples Assembly where next

  • Discussions were had around getting other people involved from different community groups.
  • Suggestions were made around holding Peoples Assembly meetings in pubs or working men’s clubs.
  • The idea was suggested about having a Peoples Wall in Sheffield somewhere for people to write on and for us to post things on, possibly to counteract the propaganda shown in newspapers.
  • Accessibility of meetings was also discussed eg: meeting advertised as in cutting edge café but isn’t, time of day etc. It was suggested to have open meetings in the city centre on Saturdays (as well as the Tuesday meetings) and Linda said she would try find a free space for us to do that.
  • Dan said he would make an online survey to find out what are the best times for meetings to be had.
  • Joe put a proposal forward about having a stall once a month on Fargate to talk to people about the Peoples Assembly. It was agreed this would go ahead. Joe also talked about the Peoples Assembly being on the street ie: we need to get out there!!
  • Next weeks meeting is to be about cuts to the Libraries. Guest speaker TBC
  • Concern was expressed about not going back to the bigger group and that we need to focus on what we are, how we are run and what we are offering.
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