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Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 15:48 UK

Nick Clegg calls for tax cuts...

The government has come under fresh pressure from two party leaders this weekend. Nick Clegg renewed calls for a tax cut for the less well-off and Alex Salmond has demanded an extra £1bn to be handed over to Scotland.

The leader of the Liberal Democrats also said the government should appoint its own people to sit on the bank committees, which decide top executive pay, in a bid to clamp down on bonuses.

Mr Clegg said that large bonuses to meet short-term targets should be stopped.

He said: "By all means pay them a lot of money, give them a company car, give them free entry to their local golf club, but don't give them incentives, which is what these bonuses are, which distort their judgments, distort their decision making."

And to enforce it, Mr Clegg said the government should consider appointing its own people to the remuneration committees.

"If they're [the government] going to invest billions of pounds of our money," he said, "into part-owning these banks, if for a temporary period of time, during that time they should have, in my view, a representative, a non-executive director on the board, or, perhaps even better, on the committee, the so-called remuneration committees which pay people at the highest level in these banks, so there is some leverage, real leverage in person, not just in terms of the capital invested, in the way in which people are paid."

Tax cut party

The Liberal Democrats are the only mainstream political party to recommend tax cuts, a position passed by the party conference in September.

Mr Clegg said the current economic crisis fuelled his belief that tax cuts were needed.

"It's more necessary now than ever before," he said. "I've heard some people say that we have to increase taxes as we head in to a recession, nothing would be a greater act of madness than adding to all troubles that families and ordinary people are already facing, but also forcing them to pay more tax.

"I think we need to cut taxes for the vast majority of ordinary tax payers."

Mr Clegg believes that the public will not appreciate a government bailing out the banks, without offering help for the tax-payer too.

"If we want the public to support the government," he said, "and all the politicians of all parties who are saying we should be committing billions of pounds to bail out banks, we can only sustain public support for that, by showing that we're on their side too."

Scottish demands...

Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, set himself on a new collision course with the UK Government today as he demanded access to an extra £1bn funding.

The SNP leader said he will be convening a special economic cabinet meeting to set out the demands from the Treasury.

He said: "Right now, sitting in a bank account, I hope in a safe bank¿ there's £120m of Scots' money such as the fossil fuel level payments that's held by OFGEM.

"It can only be paid in to the Scottish Consolidated Fund, it's no use to anybody else but us.

"Now the only reason we can't access that and use that money now for investing in renewable energy, injecting demand and confidence, is that under the current Treasury rules, it would be deducted from the overall spending limit across the Scottish Government."

Alcohol battle

Also on the programme, Mr Salmond defied critics and pledged to plough on with his controversial policy over alcohol sales.

Despite being opposed by the SNP youth wing and many organisations including the Scottish Police Service, Mr Salmond maintained that the proposal to prevent 18-21-year-olds from purchasing alcohol in off-licenses was "very popular".

"I think it's very popular with people in Scotland, particularly those in the areas where it's been experimented and trialled like Stenhousemuir and other areas, which have seen a 50% drop over the weekends in recorded breach of the peace incidents and other reports to the police.

"It seems to be having an affect and therefore, we should look at that proposal very favourably.

"It's one of a whole range of proposals that the SNP are making in terms of trying to tackle Scotland's relationship with the booze."

The party has already lost a vote in the Scottish Parliament on the plan.

Now, the party leadership could face an embarrassing defeat as the proposal is expected to be voted on at the SNP party conference next week.

The Politics Show on BBC One at 12.00 BST on Sundays.



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