ALBA Conference 2022 - Our Motions

A Luxury Goods Tax

Conference notes the current Cost of Living Crisis will highlight the growing inequality that the Westminster system of Government allows to prosper.

It is essential that the UK Government takes action that will reduce spiralling inflation whilst ensuring that resources are targeted to those most in need.

Conference believes that a cut to VAT would be an obvious means of reducing the cost of expenditure for households that are facing unprecedented increases in their cost of living.

Conference supports measures regarding the removal of VAT from energy costs, as well as a reduction of VAT from 20% to 10%, measures that would save the average Scottish household over £2500 a year.

However, Conference urges the UK Government to ensure that when millions of people across the UK are facing a choice between eating or heating their homes, those who are least effected by the cost of living crisis should have a greater burden of taxation placed upon them when purchasing luxury goods.

A luxury goods tax should be targeted at high end designer fashion, jewellery, and cars which would result in the VAT for these items being charged at 40%, generating an additional £2.5bn for public expenditure.

Conference calls on the UK Government to:

· Remove VAT from energy bills;
· Reduce VAT to 10%;
· And introduce a Luxury Goods tax of 40%


ALBA recognises that:-

1. The tragedies of addiction, drug and alcohol deaths, and suicides are disproportionately high in the least affluent parts of Scotland. The waste of human potential, suffering, loss and economic effects are enormous, long lasting and inter generational. Poverty remains the greatest driver of inequality, poor health and traumatic episodes. Rising inflation and terrifying increases in fuel bills and food prices are likely only to force hundreds of thousands more Scots into poverty and despair.

2. Our communities must face adversity together, immediately reverse our intolerable record of avoidable drugs related deaths and the consequential toll experienced by unimaginable numbers of families plunged into bereavement. Those Scots who believe they have the least to lose have also the most to gain from Independence, when we can address poverty, its causes and effects, comprehensively and holistically. We must seek our Independence without delay.

3. Meantime, whilst hobbled by the constraints of devolution, ALBA believes that a combination of immediate, medium and long term plans must be set in motion so as to address inequality in all its guises. Time is not on the side of those in greatest need and hardship.

4. Medical interventions address dependence; psycho-social supports are necessary to aid recovery from addiction.

5. Addiction is often an outcome of trauma particularly where early years are punctuated by Adverse Childhood Experiences; family support and community will are desirable for healthy development of all of Scotland’s children.

6. Decriminalisation of personal drugs use is one important aspect of a multi faceted approach; success in reducing addictions and poor outcomes, including unnecessary premature deaths, can be achieved only by a combination of aims including better, more varied and locally based treatment options favouring abstinence, encouraging social integration and enabling lasting recovery.

7. Scotland has urgent pressing need of dedicated rehabilitation beds for immediate short and long term use, including a halfway house following detoxification and facilities for intensive mother and baby support.

8. “You don’t know what it’s like to be me” - those with lived experience recognise the needs, vulnerabilities and strengths of those seeking recovery and relief - workers within the sector should include a greater proportion of those in recovery whose views and knowledge ought to inform practice.

9. Residential rehabilitation should become a mandatory alternative to prison where deemed appropriate as an outcome to be pursued proactively, not piecemeal or dictated by postcode lottery.

ALBA accordingly affirms

I) Support for the legally enforceable right to recovery
II) Determination to pursue recognised international best practice in line with the aims of the United Nations commitments including the strengthening of effective comprehensive initiatives covering prevention, early intervention, treatment, care, recovery, rehabilitation and social integration measures on a non-discriminatory basis.

ALBA implores the Scottish Government to

I) fulfil and extend its commitment to providing residential rehabilitation facilities of a high standard nationwide available to all free at the point of need within the current financial year
II) set in motion local psycho-social support services including Talking Therapies thereby addressing prevention by limiting the isolation and despair which addiction invariably brings
III) create a recruitment drive to increase the numbers of counsellors and support workers with lived experience of addiction and recovery to become a legal minimum of at least 40% of the workforce.

These proposals will begin to address past failures, but will not provide a holistic package of care until we eradicate poverty from our country. It is manmade, wholly unnecessary and shameful. Scotland’s people deserve hope, and the ability and rights to fulfil their potential in an egalitarian democracy. Scotland’s government and institutions must deliver the services, inspiration and respect worthy of the 21st century fit for a people intent on marching to an autonomous self-governing destiny.


The practice of pro-independence MPs taking their seats in the United Kingdom’s Westminster Parliament only serves to give legitimacy to UK control of Scotland and her resources.

Conference notes that the Westminster Parliament does not respect the sovereign will of the Scottish people as demonstrated by Scotland being taken out of the EU despite the clear democratic decision of the Scottish people to Remain and by the refusal of the UK Prime Minister to transfer the necessary powers for a mandated independence referendum.

By taking their seats without a plan to use the institution as one plank in an independence strategy, Scotland’s MPs are colluding in the subjugation of the Scottish people and are giving tacit agreement to UK control.

Scotland’s MPs are outnumbered by more than ten to one and Scotland’s voice is not heard.

Conference regrets that over the last seven years despite the majority of MPs from Scotland supporting independence, the MPs have failed to realise any benefit to Scotland or to the cause of independence.

Conference therefore supports

a) The action taken by the ALBA MPs in parliamentary intervention to protest the Johnson Government’s refusal to acknowledge Scotland’s democratic rights.

b) That all independence supporting MPs similarly intervene in the Westminster Parliament on a daily basis until the Truss Government accept the Scotland’s national Claim of Right to democratic choice.

c) That this parliamentary action should be backed by a campaign of peaceful popular agitation in Scotland noting that ALBA MPs already prioritise community campaigning in Scotland over merely occupying the green benches at Westminster.

d) The ALBA proposal for the majority of MPs and MSPs to meet forthwith in Scotland in a Constitutional Convention and, in alliance with civic Scotland, progress Scotland’s Claim of Right with the international community.

e) That the election of a majority of independence supporting MPs is taken as a mandate for the Scottish Government to negotiate independence with Westminster.

Conference therefore demands:

1. There will be no more conniving with the Westminster system.
2. We have sat too long on the Westminster benches, it is well past time for Scotland to go.


CASS Review implications for the Sandyford Clinic

In March 2022 the interim report by Dr Hilary Cass – the Cass Review: Interim Report – was published. The report was commissioned by NHS England to investigate child gender services. The report was damning, finding the Tavistock clinic, in England, not a safe or viable long-term option for children.

Subsequent to this report the Tavistock child gender services clinic was closed.

The previous year in January 2021 the then Cabinet Secretary for Health was asked about initiating a Scottish Cass report they responded, “We do not look to duplicate the work of the [Cass] review in Scotland and will closely consider the findings of the review when they become available.”

Despite this assurance on 28th April 2022 the First Minister confirmed in Parliament that the Scottish Government would disregard the advice of the Cass Review. This is despite the Cass review concluding “A fundamentally different service model is needed which is more in line with other paediatric provision”

Conference notes with concern that in Scotland the Sandyford child gender services clinic follows the same discredited treatment protocols for gender-distressed children as Tavistock. These are the protocols which were found, by Cass, to be clinically flawed and harmful to children.

Conference is disappointed that the Scottish Government has not taken on board the findings of the Cass report by halting referrals to the Sandyford Clinic and has instead forged ahead with a £9 million allocation of funds this year, primarily aimed at addressing waiting times.

Conference believes that referrals to Sandyford should be halted until the service is reformed and, as recommended by Cass, the service moves away from the affirmative only approach.

In addition, Conference calls for an urgent review of NHS care of gender-distressed children which should be based on clinical need not ideology.

Recruitment retention and retirement of the teaching workforce in Scottish schools

There is an over supply of graduate teachers in Scottish schools and not enough permanent positions. Graduate teachers entering the workforce are given one-year contracts. This suits council budgets as the one-year contract is guaranteed and paid by the Scottish Government. At the end of the year the teachers are replaced by the new crop of graduate teachers.

The situation has been further worsened by the introduction of Post Graduate Diploma in Education for Primary Teachers, which now allows anyone with a degree to take a short one-year course and be on par with a person with a Masters of Education.

The oversupply of teachers is compounded by the Post Graduate Diploma in Education for Secondary Teachers, which is available in subjects where there is no teacher shortage.

Last year there were approximately 1700 teachers unemployed or on what amounts to zero hours contracts; that is in a supply pool with no contract waiting for an ad hoc offer of work.

44% of new graduates did not continue their General Teaching Council Scotland registration after the first year.

This situation is exacerbated by changes to the teachers’ pension and superannuation scheme which means that teachers are working up to seven years longer, leaving no permanent positions for graduates.

Conference instructs that an Education Working Group is established and that group should bring forward proposals to address these issues and give teachers seeking employment job security and career progression.

Ban Single Use Electronic Devices

Increasing numbers of electronic devices are being brought to market with batteries that are neither re-chargeable nor replaceable. The result is that the device and battery containing hazardous and often dangerous materials such as Lithium are thrown away in normal rubbish destined for landfill or incineration. This results in an increasing waste of resources and risk of fires and poisoning where such devices are carelessly discarded. Particularly egregious examples of such products are single use vape cigarettes, disposable electric toothbrushes, single use phone chargers and “electronic” pregnancy tests that simply add a display and sensors to the standard paper strip test with zero gain in functionality.

Other products are appearing in different markets. These include disposable electronic games, light up soft drink bottles, advertising labels for shop shelves with screens, disposable screen video advertising devices etc.

These products are a growing liability and must be banned now before they increase in number creating ever bigger resource waste

Conference recognises notes with concern:

A. Disposable single use electronic devices pose a danger to the environment through wasting resources and dangerous disposal
B. The number of such products being sold in Scotland and elsewhere
C. That there should be expeditious regulatory action to remove such products from the market

Conference Believes Alba’s commitment to the environment requires action on this subject.

Therefore Conference Calls on the following:

* That the Scottish Government show their commitment to sustainability by raising legislation to ban single use electronic devices
* That the success in banning single use plastic products is an example of how to deal with this challenging group of products
* The Scottish Government to prevent the import and sale of any products of a similar nature and composition.

Health of the nation

Avoidable poor health suffered by people in Scotland results from decades of socioeconomic disadvantage, creating impoverished communities living in sub-standard housing, unable to afford a healthy diet, with shorter life expectancy than their affluent counterparts.

Conference notes with concern
A. That much was made of a decrease in Drug Related Deaths by nine, between 2020/2021 however, this was the first drop in Drug Related Deaths since 2013. Avoidable health issues such as poor mental health, obesity, addictions, and respiratory illnesses have also increased over the same period.
B. That the Government, although acknowledging the root cause is socioeconomic deprivation has not set out any strategic integrated, community-based plan to address this, nor acknowledged the key role communities play in preventing rather than mitigating damage to people’s lives.
C. Furthermore, in the face of rampant inflation, which is set to engulf up to 80% of the Scottish people, the Holyrood Government still has not set out any strategy using their devolved powers, to protect communities from looming economic catastrophe.

Conference supports Alba’s commitment to:
i) Guarantee free school meals to all school age children in Scotland, including holidays.
ii) Recognising resources must be better targeted at tackling social deprivation.
iii) Providing an additional £500 annual payment for low paid households as part of ALBA’s 5 Point Plan to tackle child and family poverty.

Conference calls for:

· The Scottish Government not only to recognise socioeconomic factors are the main drivers behind avoidable deaths but to set out a preventative health strategy, centred on community engagement across all age groups. and genders. We must begin to prevent rather than mitigate avoidable health problems.

· Community Health and Wellbeing to be understood in its widest socioeconomic and geographic sense. Until the Government truly recognises that avoidable deaths stem from decades of inequality and impoverishment and begin to address this by preventative measures, rather than trying to undo the damage later in people’s lives, Scotland will be caught in a cycle of mitigating rather than solving burgeoning health inequalities.

· Each community to be regarded as a unique collection of people and families, that must be listened to, with their views and aspirations respected. We must stop working in communities but with communities.

Defence and Security in an Independent Scotland Policy Statement

The Defence footprint in Scotland is of massive value and strategic importance and the size, format and capability of the Scottish Defence Force would be primarily based on naval forces and coastal defence for the following reasons:
· The size of Territorial waters and EEZ.
· The impact of climate change on the opening of new sea routes with the melting of ice caps in the Arctic Ocean.
· The need to patrol and enforce Scottish Fishing rights and protect offshore assets in both hydrocarbons and renewables.

Conference welcomes the highly successful National Assembly held on Defence and Security and Nuclear Disarmament which allowed party members and the wider public to listen to expert opinion as well as debate their own views on Defence and Security policy in an independent Scotland. Conference believes that the Defence and Security of an independent Scotland should be underpinned not only by the principal of Defending Scotland but also by being a nation that supports the peaceful common good of the world.


i) recognises Scotland has a proud army tradition and an independent Scotland would be able to reinstate historic units disbanded by the UK Government such as the Royal Scots, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and Black Watch Regiments and battalions as part of the Scottish Defence force structure.

ii) supports the base of the Scottish Defence forces should be at Faslane in HMNB Clyde, with the army, the naval forces, and the air force (based at Lossiemouth) all reporting into a new Single Defence Force structure that includes in it army, navy, air and coast guard as its constituent parts.

iii) notes an independent Scotland should build to a footprint of defence forces that total in the region of 15,000 regular and 5,000 reserve personnel.

Conference therefore agrees:

1. Alba advocate for the Government of an independent Scotland to sign the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and will campaign for other nations of the world to do so.

2. There is a long-standing national consensus in existence that Scotland should not host nuclear weapons and ALBA Party demand that the negotiating party for an independent Scotland secure the speedy and safe removal of the nuclear fleet from Faslane, which will be replaced by conventional naval forces; all weapons of mass destruction and all associated nuclear materials negotiated to be safely removed by day one of Scotland becoming an independent nation.

3. ALBA advocate for an independent Scotland to be a participating state of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to work for stability, peace and democracy through political dialogue about shared values and through practical work that contributes to sustainable progress.

4. ALBA advocate for the Government of an independent Scotland to inform NATO that Scotland will not host nuclear weapons and that Scotland will cooperate with NATO in so far as its member states participate in UN sanctioned operations or in non nuclear defensive exercises.

5. ALBA will not advocate for an independent Scotland to seek NATO membership. 

6. To build on the successful National Assembly discussions by convening a steering group, consisting of experts, which will further develop party policy into a full defence and security paper.


This Conference supports a credible independence strategy to bring the repeated mandates for action on independence, into effect.

Conference notes the golden thread of Scottish history and the constitutional tradition of the sovereignty of the people to determine whatever form of Government best suits our needs.

Conference notes that Scotland’s Claim of Right asserted by the Community of the Realm through history, from the fourteenth century to the cross-party agreement of the 1980s, is supported by international law on the right of self determination, and does not require the permission of the UK Parliament to be brought into effect.

Conference applauds the work of the various groups who have been preparing the case in international law and promoting Scotland’s national rights.
Therefore, Conference calls for;

1. An immediate and sustained campaign of parliamentary action, popular agitation and diplomatic initiative to force Westminster’s acceptance of an agreed referendum promised for October 19th 2023.
2. The recognition by the elected MSPs and MPs from Scotland that they are the custodians of Scottish sovereignty and that it is their responsibility, not that of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, to create the political circumstances which will allow Scotland’s right of self determination to be expressed next year.
3. The preparation of a full case in international law in support of Scotland’s right of self determination to be forwarded in the name of the elected Parliament and majority of MPs from Scotland.
4. Any “plebiscite election” being fought in a united fashion by the independence parties with individual party name followed by the Scotland United banner. The election of a majority of independence MPs should be treated as a mandate for the Scottish Government to negotiate independence with Westminster supported by the formation of a Scottish Independence Convention of elected members to direct and lead the campaign for international recognition as an independent state.

A Progressive Tax Policy for Scotland

Conference believes that for Scotland to have the best public services possible and a social security system based on fairness, which rejects the Westminster system of punishing those most in need in our society, then Scotland requires a far bolder and more progressive tax system.

Conference notes there are currently 453,000 higher rate income tax payers in Scotland on the very wide tax bracket of £43,662 - £150,000.

There are currently five income tax bands in Scotland which have been created by the Scottish Parliament: Starter rate; Basic rate; Intermediate Rate; Higher rate; and Top Rate.

However, Conference notes that whilst Scotland remains part of the UK many of the key fiscal levers to generate income and boost the economy are in the hands of the Westminster Government. Conference affirms that Alba Party will continue to pressure the UK Government to implement fairer taxation policies until Scotland has full fiscal autonomy.

Conference calls for/urges/demands:

Conference therefore calls on the Scottish Government from 2023/24 onwards to create additional tax bands as follows:

- The creation of a new bottom higher rate band of £43,663 to £70,000 at 41%; a new higher rate band of £70,001 to £100,00 at 42.5%; a new upper higher rate band of £100,000 to £150,000 at 47.5%.; with the top rate of income over £150,000 being set at 50%.


Current Income Tax Bands

Starter Rate £12,571 to £14,732 19%
Basic Rate £14,733 to £25,688 20%
Intermediate Rate £25,689 to £43,662 21%
Higher Rate £43,663 to £150,000 41%
Top Rate Over £150,000 46%

Proposed Income Tax Bands

Starter rate £12,571 to £14,732 19%
Basic rate £14,733 to £25,688 20%
Intermediate rate £25,689 to £43,662 21%
Bottom Higher rate £43,663 to £70,000 41%
Higher rate £70,001 to £100,000 42.5%
Upper Higher Rate £100,001 to £150,000 47.5%
Top Rate Over £150,000 50%

Hemp Industry

Farmers should be encouraged and supported to grow hemp effectively in Scotland- from this, we can build a new cleaner industrial revolution - no more cutting down trees for wood and paper which will help reduce our carbon emissions. A new source of fuel for energy, cars, and manufacturing opportunities.

A. Conference recognises that the growth and production that can be maintained by having a legal system that supports growing and producing a hemp harvest
B. Conference is concerned that the limitations that are implemented by the Westminster Government is hindering our economic and environmental growth
C. Conference acknowledges that this is not a devolved issue in Scotland however it should be noted with urgency that in an independent Scotland people should be encouraged to grow and manufacture hemp for a cleaner, healthier quality of life

i) Conference reaffirms Alba’s commitment to famers and the citizen that these jobs would be created for
ii) Alba commits to an independent Scotland that the hemp plant growth and production would benefit all of Scotland’s people, not just the few
iii) Conference recognises that the hemp plant has a huge potential in Scottish society as it can be seen in other places in the UK but a much fairer system.

1. supports the growth of hemp should in an independent Scotland to help the citizens live a healthy, cleaner, and greener life
2. Conference demands that Westminster devolve these powers to the Scottish government to enable her to progress her country and help her people out of poverty.


Online bullying and the undermining of women's rights are becoming commonplace. Social media platforms are regularly used to threaten, bully and undermine women and indeed anyone who dares to speak up for sex based rights. Freedom of expression is under threat.
Whilst women’s groups, a number of prominent women, including ALBA women, have publicly stood up for equality, not enough has been heard from some female politicians and their male counterparts across Scotland.  If politicians do not have or use their voice, then democracy is under threat.

1. recognises that equal rights are central and key and must be protected  in Scotland and beyond 
2. notes with concern that women’srights are under attack and the terms of the Equality Act 2010  are not being publicly supported, in particular  by a number of elected officials whose duty it is to uphold such laws.
3. acknowledges that the Equality Act 2010 enshrines in law that sex is one of the nine protected characteristics.
Conference reaffirms Alba’s commitment to:

Support equality as enshrined in law, and, in particular, to support women’s sex-based rights which is ALBA Party policy.

Conference calls:

* on all Scottish male politicians to advocate that, in Scotland, there is no room for bullying of any group and that women’s rights which are protected by the Equality Act 2010 are upheld.

* for the Scottish Government to direct law enforcement authorities to fully investigate abusive or bullying messages, targeting women in particular, and ensure justice is done and is seen to be done.

The energy crisis is affecting every Scottish household and business. Price rises of over 100% are now delivering real worry and pushing the poorest into energy poverty.
Other European counties have acted to prevent the market abuse and the unfair and discrimination that the UK government has failed to correct.
The regulator Ofgem has failed to regulate the energy marketplace and has failed to protect consumers. This is a policy failure with real consequences. The cost of generation is not currently linked to the price a household or small business is being charged. This policy failure also raises market competition failures.

Conference recognises/notes with concern/regret/acknowledges/:

A. Conference Recognises that Scotland is suffering from the policy failure created by the Conservative and Unionist Party.
B. Conference Notes with concern the UK regulator has failed to act to protect consumers and small businesses from excessive profiteering by energy giants who are cross subsidizing the cost of generation.
C. Conference Acknowledges that the regulator Ofgem was set up to regulate the retail supply of energy to households across the UK but has failed to act.
Conference reaffirms Alba’s commitment to:

Support Scottish households and small businesses from excessive price increases.

Conference calls:

1. On all Scottish MP's to direct the regulator Ofgem to act without delay to regulate the maximum retail price that energy suppliers can charge for energy and to set a energy cap for each type of energy generation. Scottish renewable energy should not include cross subsidies for gas generated electricity.
2. Conference Urges the UK Government to direct Ofgem to act without delay and reverse the excessive cap increases during 2022. Ofgem must set separate price caps for electricity generated by renewable.
3. Conference Calls for the Scottish Government to demand that the UK government must act to ensure that Scottish electricity is supplied to Scottish households at a price that reflects its cost of generation.
4. Conference Calls on the UK regulator Ofgem to stop energy suppliers from cross subsidizing different electricity generation supplies. Scottish renewable electricity generation has nothing to do with burning gas.

It's Scotland's Windfall Tax

Conference notes the vast North Sea Energy Windfall Tax income that must be used to overcome the unprecedented pressures on Scottish family budgets caused by spiralling inflation, extraordinary energy prices and the cost of living crisis.

Scotland is already self-sufficient in renewable electricity generation as well as gas supplies yet we have the only Oil Capital in the world that has become significantly poorer with a crippling debt that has accumulated only due to the fact that Scotland's World Energy Capital has been forced to fund the accommodation and development of Britain, Europe and the world's Oil and Gas industry for 50 years with no financial support.

In over half a century of organic fossil fuel extraction, and with 25% of Europe’s renewable energy potential, the people of Scotland have yet to benefit from our proven and dependable energy resources that should have secured our financial and energy independence.

Conference therefore supports the following immediate actions to fairly distribute Energy Windfall Tax funds, establish a Scottish publicly owned non profit energy company, permanently secure Scotland’s energy and financial independence while confirming our nation's position as a responsible global citizen and European leader that can supply our fellow Scottish citizens and the world with stable, safe, secure and dependable organic and renewable energy.

1. Proceeds of the Energy Windfall Tax entirely devoted to overcome unprecedented financial pressures on Scottish families, providing the World Energy Capital with infrastructure, services and asset alignment comparable with competing world energy cities and eradicating Scotland's World Energy Capital debt.

2. Endorse with urgency the ALBA policy to establish a World Energy Capital based Scottish energy
company with a public stake as of right in every major renewable and all other energy resource project licences so that the Scottish people can benefit from our vast renewable and organic energy resources.

3. Immediate emergency increase in North Sea gas output along with permanent increased production and supply of all Scotland's energy sources to provide affordability for fellow Scottish citizens.

4. Further endorsement of ALBA's Scottish carbon capture initiative with licensing of oil and gas projects conditional on participation in the project and plans for CO2 disposal and a World Energy Capital based organisation be formed and permanently core funded by the Scottish Government to represent these aims while promoting the provision of Scotland's stable and safe energies to every country in the world.

A public energy company

Conference reasserts ALBA policy for a public share in Scotland’s offshore wind wealth and the formation of a public energy company to serve the Scottish people.

Given the high cost structure of English electricity generation through gas powered plants and in the future through a new nuclear programme it is imperative that the independence of the Scottish electricity grid is restored so that Scots citizens and business benefits from our own array of clean, green and affordable power.

Conference calls on the NEC to mount a campaign illustrating the contrast between the likely electricity bills of an independent Scotland with public provision in contrast to the unaffordable impositions of the present privatised UK system which is blanketing the most energy rich country in Europe in mass fuel poverty.

Support the Friends of Thomas Muir Campaign

This Conference supports the campaign by the Friends of Thomas Muir to persuade Historic Environment Scotland to revise the Category listing of Huntershill House from category B to A.

Conference applauds the role of Thomas Muir of Huntershill in the development of democracy in Scotland and proposed that a suitable recognition for Muir and his fellow Friends of the People should adorn the precincts of the Scottish Parliament to remind visitors of their struggle in combating oppression and securing the franchise and Scottish Parliamentarians of the importance of peaceful protest in securing and defending democratic rights.