The Hastings People’s Assembly (HPA) will be undertaking an official relaunch on Thursday 10 March (not 13th or 14th, as reported in HIP 194 two weeks ago). An online meeting that evening (via Zoom) will feature both local and national speakers in a campaign centred on preserving the NHS.

In the lead-up, the HPA invites the public to take part in a National Day of Action tomorrow (Saturday 26th), organised jointly by the nationwide campaign group SOS NHS and by the Unite union.  The promoters are calling for emergency funds for the health service and for new legislation to secure a fully public NHS and the end to privatisation.

Leah Levane, former Labour councillor on Hastings Borough Council but now focused on campaigning through the Assembly, says that there will be speakers, drummers and some singing in Hastings town centre on this day to “help highlight the need to safeguard services for patients and service users, bolster staff morale and tackle the mental health crisis among health and care staff”.  

Jay Kramer, Jonathan Lee and Leah Levane campaigning for the Hastings People’s Assembly
CREDIT: Hastings People’s Assembly

The HPA wants to be “a visible presence in the community”, in Ms Levane’s words, on wider issues too. Two weeks ago, on 12 February, its members took part in a national day of action in response to the escalating cost of living, braving a cold and biting wind in Hastings town centre to add their voices to protests and actions across the country. “We listened to local people’s experiences, frustration and disillusionment. Many are already experiencing the terrifying cost of living increase and fearing the fuel cost and other rises heading down the pipeline. Already food prices, particularly on necessary basic items, are rising much higher than average pay with the problem certain to worsen as the Bank of England predicts inflation is set to increase above 7%.”

Open letter

Signatures were gathered for an open letter to local MP, Sally Ann Hart, urging that she does all she can to ensure the Government fully supports those who are struggling to live on low incomes with the aim of ending food and fuel insecurity within a year. The letter also called upon Mrs Hart to pressure the government to fund councils properly and allow for social housing to be built in the numbers needed.

Ms Levane stresses that the People’s Assembly movement is not linked to a political party and is committed to open non-sectarian working with all those opposed to austerity and cuts and a better quality of life for all.  

“The aim is to work with existing campaigns, bringing people together to support, encourage and coordinate joint experience, sharing resources and emphasising what we have in common rather than allowing us to be weakened and divided.

 “To build the local assembly and strengthen local solidarity against cuts to services, low wages, the high cost of housing and much more, it is important that we are active in ‘real life’, talking with and listening to people who may not have been involved in activism before.  The situation is tough for many people, especially in our town, but by working together and raising our collective voices, we can make a difference.

“We aim to develop into a thriving branch through welcoming new members with creative ideas and a willingness to engage in ways of tackling the pressing issues facing our community.”  

To find out more and to get the Zoom link for the meeting on 10 March, send an email to [email protected]  

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