Page last updated at 23:27 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 00:27 UK

Lib Dems demand cut in income tax

Tavish Scott at Lib Dem conference
Mr Scott was elected the party's Scottish leader last month

The leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats has renewed his demand for a 2p cut in income tax as part of a "radical" economic package.

Tavish Scott told the party's autumn conference that a cut will be at the heart of their budget proposals.

His plan will also include calls for a "genuine" local income tax and new investment on marine energy.

He declared the proposals will be conditions for supporting the SNP government's budget plans.

Last year, the Scottish Government only got its budget proposals through Holyrood with the help of the Tories and independent MSP Margo Macdonald, in return for concessions on police numbers and other demands.

People are tightening their belts. It's right that government does as well
Tavish Scott
Scottish Lib Dem leader

As the Liberal Democrats have 16 MSPs and the SNP 47, a deal with the Lib Dems would leave the Nationalist administration only two votes short of a parliamentary majority for its budget bill.

In a challenge to the SNP and other parties, Mr Scott told the one-day Edinburgh conference: "Our plans are the most radical package that has been presented to the Scottish Parliament since it was re-convened in 1999.

"My challenge to the other parties today is this - come with us, work with us.

"Build a Scottish budget that meets the needs of these economic hard times."

Ease hardship

As well as tax cuts, a "fair" local income tax and support for renewable energy, Mr Scott listed action on skills and practical help for small firms as key elements of the Lib Dem proposals.

He added: "People are tightening their belts. It's right that government does as well.

"We should use the Scottish Parliament's power to cut income tax by two pence in the pound, saving the average Scot more than 300 a year and putting money back in the pockets of people who need it most."

Mr Scott first called for an emergency income tax cut, to help ease hardship caused by the global financial crisis, at the party's UK conference last month.

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