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by Louise Wilson
21 April 2021
Alba backs EFTA membership in manifesto

Colin Fisher / Alamy Stock Photo

Alba backs EFTA membership in manifesto

An independent Scotland should join the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), the Alba Party has proposed.

This could provide access to the European single market, while maintaining the common travel area and keep the opportunity to create a customs union with the rest of the UK.

The party’s manifesto, launched by leader Alex Salmond today, says EFTA membership would be an interim position while either negotiating full EU membership or considering other proposals for a relationship with the EU.

It also backed creating a new Scottish currency for an independent Scotland, with sterling still to be used as a dual currency for a period.

The former first minister said Alba MSPs would immediately lay a motion before parliament to instruct the Scottish government to begin independence negotiations with the UK government.

He said this may take the form of a referendum or “another agreed democratic test”.

Salmond said: “That is the sense of urgency we intend to inject into the independence debate. And we will do that every day within parliament, pressuring a pro-independence Scottish government to get a move on and holding it to account when it doesn’t.”

But he insisted Alba was not a single-issue party, pointing to commitments on the economy.

He added: “Alba offers the strategy for independence and an economic recovery programme which meets the scale of the post-COVID economic tsunami which we’re about to face, and a re-presentation of the case for independence to meet the modern world.”

Other commitments in the manifesto include setting up a national housing company to build new homes, creating a training and employment grant scheme to support reskilling, and to establishing a national renewables corporation to support public and community ownership of wind farms.

It also says the party would introduce year-round free school meals, double the educational maintenance allowance, provide free access to gyms for under 18s and create a citizens assembly to discuss women’s rights.

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