Edinburgh’s iconic Signet Library provided the venue once again for the CIOT/ATT Joint Presidents’ Luncheon.
More than 160 guests, comprising senior figures from Scotland’s legal and tax professions, joined the Presidents of CIOT and ATT for the luncheon, alongside representatives from Scottish politics, government and the media.
Bruce Crawford MSP, convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Constitution Committee, was guest speaker for the event, providing guests with an insightful and informative overview of the committee’s work scrutinising Scotland’s budget and the devolved taxes.
Mr Crawford remarked that this was a truly historic time for the Scottish Parliament, which the previous week had, for the first time in its history, set a budget containing over £11 billion of spending raised from taxes devolved from Westminster.
He described this event as a “paradigm shift”, one that “fundamentally changes and challenges the very nature of the Scottish Parliament.”
During his remarks, Mr Crawford also drew attention to the work of the ongoing Budget Process Review Group.
The group – an initiative bringing together representatives of the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government and wider civic society – is scheduled to report later this year with recommendations aimed at ensuring the Scottish budget process takes into account the impact of tax devolution and its ongoing interactions with the wider UK budget process.
Mr Crawford also paid tribute to the contributions made by CIOT and ATT to the work of the committee, stating that he and his colleagues were “very reliant on the expertise which professional bodies such as CIOT and ATT provide in examining what can be hugely complex issues.”
With Scotland’s new tax powers bringing with them opportunities and responsibilities, Mr Crawford closed his remarks by evoking the memory of Edwin Morgan, Scotland’s first national poet (Makar), drawing on his poem for the opening of the Scottish Parliament building in 2004; “We give you this great building, don’t let your work and hope be other than great when you enter and begin. So now begin. Open the doors and begin.”
(Pictured are (L-R) Bruce Crawford MSP, Convener of the Scottish Parliament's Finance and Constitution Committee; Bill Dodwell, CIOT President, Ralph Pettengell, ATT President and Alexander Garden, Chair of the CIOT Scotland Hub)