Alex Salmond presses Cameron on more Holyrood powers

David cameron and Alex Salmond Alex Salmond made his case to the prime minister in London

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First Minister Alex Salmond has demanded more borrowing and spending powers for Holyrood, in a meeting with the prime minister in London.

The move came after the devolved administrations wrote to David Cameron calling for more financial powers to be transferred from Westminster.

Mr Salmond made his case at the first session of the joint ministerial committee since the election.

Scottish Secretary Michael Moore described the meeting as productive.

The committee is made up of ministers from the UK and devolved governments.

The committee may be joint, but the ministers taking part have decidedly different perspectives.

For David Cameron, the JMC is part of his respect agenda: taking the devolved institutions seriously; working in consort with the devolved administrations.

For the Nationalists? It underlines the status of the devolved government.

Secondly, Alex Salmond plans to use the JMC to press for specific concessions on spending: for example, the demand that the devolved territories should get their Barnett consequential share of money spent regenerating London off the back of the Olympics.

Mr Salmond has called for a new statement of financial policy and more flexibility in capital allocations covering the three-year period of the upcoming spending review, as well as greater spending powers.

Together the measures, the first minister believes, would help Scotland's economic recovery after the recession, although it is highly unlikely the UK government will accede to the request.

The UK government is planning to give increased tax-raising powers to the Scottish Parliament, as recommended by the Calman Commission review of devolution.

But Mr Salmond argues the proposals have been overtaken by the UK government's plan to pay for a rise in income tax allowance thresholds by increasing personal National Insurance Contributions, under which money would go straight to the Treasury.

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