This year’s SNP conference in Aberdeen was a great success. It is always a welcome opportunity for me to catch up with MPs, councillors, and party members as we focus on our mission of building a greener, fairer, and wealthier Scotland.

The conference started with a very touching message from Nadia El-Nakla who is an SNP councillor for Dundee and the wife of First Minister Humza Yousaf. Her parents are currently stuck in Gaza and are unable to leave.

My heart goes out to Nadia and Humza during this incredibly difficult time.

Conference passed an emergency motion which condemned Hamas’ terrorist attacks and called for any response to be within international law.

We are asking the UK Government to back the UN’s call for a humanitarian corridor to allow people to leave Gaza, and for essential supplies to reach those who can’t. 

I stand with everyone in Scotland who has been deeply affected by this conflict. We are also aware of a potential rise in Jewish people and Muslims being targeted as a result. There is no place for antisemitism, islamophobia, or hatred of any kind in Scotland.

There were lots of positive announcements from the First Minister at Conference. I welcome the news that Council Tax across Scotland will be frozen next year to protect all households who are struggling with rising bills. Council tax bills in Scotland are already hundreds of pounds a year lower than they are in England and this will see that saving grow.

We again committed to strengthening our NHS. That is why we will be investing an extra £100m in each of the next three years to cut inpatient and day-case waiting lists. This investment will reduce waiting lists by an estimated 100,000 patients by 2026.

With winter right around the corner, it is important we all play our part in protecting the health service. This time of year brings an increase in sickness and more pressure on our NHS. That is why it is so important we access the right service for our needs to ensure accident and emergency departments are not overrun.

As always, if you have a genuine emergency, please call 999 or go to A&E straight away. If it is not an emergency please remember you can call NHS 24 on 111, speak to your GP or pharmacist, or read self-help guides on

If we all use NHS services wisely, we can keep well and get the care we need quickly, safely, and as close to home as possible.