A GROUP of Swindon people who feel that some of the country’s most impoverished residents are being unfairly hit by spending cuts, price hikes and austerity measures are planning a string of demonstrations this year.

Before mapping out a plan of action, members of the recently formed Swindon People’s Assembly (SPA) want to get their group on a firm footing and have organised a key meeting for anyone interested.

Although critical of Government policies, the body is keen to stress that it is not affiliated to any political parties.

However, it is part of national organisation the People’s Assembly Against Austerity (PAAA), which organises protests against policies that are “disproportionately hitting the poorest and most vulnerable people in our society”.

One of the Swindon organisers, cleaner Kate Linnegars, 52, said the meeting at The Unite union offices, Stratton St Margaret on Thursday, January 30 was of major importance to the movement.

She said: “To truly reflect the nature of the Swindon People’s Assembly we need to have people involved from as many walks of life, campaign groups, unions and anyone else who feels strongly on these issues.

“At the meeting we will be deciding how our group goes forward into 2014, what local and national actions we wish to support or set up, and deciding if we want to go along the line of having a steering group.”

She said means of funding SPA events would also be on the agenda.

Kate, who has lived in Swindon for most of her life, said: “I don’t belong to any political party but I want to stand up and be counted as someone who is aware of and opposes the present government policies.

“I am very concerned about the effects of austerity cuts and privatisation on the NHS, education, welfare and the environment. They are all producing a negative effect on people’s standards of living and of their wellbeing.”

Kate, of Rodbourne, said the group was working with dozens of others around the country to oppose the cuts. She said: “People are disgusted by what’s happening.

“By setting up the Swindon Peoples Assembly we have the opportunity to help mobilise people and support each other in demonstrations, days of direct action and other ways.”

Last month the SPA organised its first event in Swindon, a peaceful demonstration in the town centre shortly before Christmas. The group sang specially worded carols and invited passers-by to sign a giant Christmas card addressed to the Prime Minister opposing “the negative impact that drastic economic policies” were having on lives.

The SPA meeting takes place at 7pm on January 30 at the Unite offices, 75 Swindon Road, Stratton St Margaret, SN3 4PU.