Alex Salmond policy document published last year gives clue to Alba Party's election manifesto
A package of policy proposals published by Alex Salmond just before Christmas could form the basis for the Alba Party’s manifesto for May’s election.
The document, entitled Manifesto for the Future, was compiled by the former first minister, along with retiring MSP and and former Cabinet minister Alex Neil, and included calls for a major housebuilding programme, investment in shovel-ready infrastructure projects and a training programme to fill Scotland’s skill gaps.
The authors claimed at the time the proposals would “transform Scotland’s prospects for post-coronavirus economic recovery and avoid mass unemployment”.
They argued for the creation of a National Housebuilding Company (NHC) to build an additional 10,000 new houses a year on top of the Scottish Government’s existing house building programme.
The NHC would be expected to ensure the houses were energy efficient, maximise the number of apprentices it recruited and trained and use its clout to develop the indigenous construction industry supply chain in Scotland.
The document said investment in infrastructure projects like improvements to schools and hospitals was one of the quickest ways for governments to create jobs.
And it advocated the expansion of existing training programmes to help meet the demand in key sectors, such as construction and IT, as well as a new Training and Employment Grants Scheme (TEGS) offering a wages and training subsidy to businesses which recruited young people or people who were unemployed or facing redundancy.
The manifesto also proposed a zero-interest rate loan scheme for businesses to help them recover from Covid, along with a research and development fund for sectors like space and renewable energy identified as growth areas for Scotland.
Although the focus of the new party is to create a “super-majority” for independence and a second referendum, Alba has indicated it plans to set out a wider policy programme as well.
One insider said: “We assume the Manifesto for the Future will be the basis for what the party puts forward. It has a big emphasis on housing and using the state and the public sector as we come out of Covid – very much Keynesian economics and a left-social democratic approach.”