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Alba manifesto: Is there more to Alex Salmond’s pitch than independence?

Alba Party leader Alex Salmond.
Alba Party leader Alex Salmond.

Alex Salmond’s Alba Party has vowed the pursuit of independence will be the “priority” as he launched a wider manifesto for the council elections next month.

But what did it have to say about the vital local services which authorities will have to run every day?

At the Dundee manifesto launch on Tuesday, Mr Salmond predicted a “political breakthrough” after the failure of last spring’s Holyrood election.

Here’s what Mr Salmond’s party is offering beyond the constitutional question at the local elections on May 5.

Focus on cost of living crisis

The Alba Party has joined political rivals in putting the escalating cost of living crisis as the heart of their manifesto.

They want to see key measures taken by local governments which they claim which help ease the everyday financial burden on families.

Alba has proposed extending free school meals to all primary and secondary school pupils across the country.

Inside the Alba Party manifesto launch.
Inside the Alba Party manifesto launch.

The ex-first minister’s party also believes that sports facilities should be free at the point of use for kids and young people.

Other policy ideas put forward by Alba included upping the Scottish Child Payment and introducing an annual £500 payment for struggling families.

Calls for council tax freeze

The Alba Party claimed the SNP should reintroduce their freeze on council tax rates.

The freeze was first introduced by Mr Salmond’s government in 2007 when he was first minister.

SNP ministers had originally pledged to abolish the council tax altogether but later reneged on this.

Finance chief Kate Forbes announced late last year local authorities would now be able to set their own rates.

Since then councils across the country have confirmed plans to hike up the levy in a bid to stave off wider cuts.

Demands for energy windfall tax

Alex Salmond’s party has backed a windfall tax on energy companies as another measure to help tackle the cost of living emergency.

However, this measure would need to be introduced by the Tories at Westminster, who have consistently opposed it.

Scottish Labour and Lib Dem MSPs in Holyrood have also backed a one-off tax to take record profits from major multinational firms.

The SNP claimed other large companies who continued to thrive during the Covid pandemic should also be targeted.

Criticism of gender reform plans

The Alba Party has called for the SNP to pause reform to the Gender Recognition Act.

Mr Salmond’s party say they oppose transgender people being able to self-identify as a replacement to the current process for gaining a Gender Recognition Certificate.

Their manifesto stated they will: “Embed the sex-based rights of women and girls at a local level.”

Alex Salmond rules out return to Russia Today as he reveals talks for ‘range of new TV programmes’

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