Experts assemble for post-budget briefing

Leading Scottish tax and finance experts will be on hand at The Herald and Sunday Herald’s annual free post-budget breakfast briefing.

The event sponsored by Campbell Dallas, Craig Corporate, VWM Wealth, Indigo, Wright Johnston Mackenzie, University of Glasgow’s Adam Smith Business School and 200 SVS will discuss the budget, in a panel chaired by political commentator Iain Macwhirter.

Delegates will be able to question the experts on personal and corporate tax considerations, welfare, property and the implications for Scottish businesses.

Jacqui Low, executive chairman of Indigo, who has 30 years’ experience in roles across communications, media and politics, including her role as Scotland’s first ever female special adviser, said: “We’ve entered a new, fascinating period in Scottish politics when the interplay between the respective budgets at Westminster and Holyrood can make a huge difference to businesses here in Scotland. As further devolution of tax powers in particular is embedded north of the Border, employers need to assess quickly whether decisions made next month by George Osborne leave them better or worse off than their competitors in the rest of the UK, and then they need to know how John Swinney will react to support their interests.”

Ken Welsh, Managing Director, VWM Wealth has over 25 years of experience of providing financial planning to families throughout the UK. He said: “Mr Osborne is struggling to keep a rein on government spending and is likely to miss his target for this year. Welfare spending is a significant problem with an ageing population. Therefore changes to pension tax relief have been well telegraphed, so expect to see reductions on the amount the government gives away in pension tax relief with likely reductions on the wealthy and incentives for the less well-off. Overall though, savings for the government as the state gets smaller and citizens are asked to take more responsibility for their retirement”.

WJM’s private client partner Grant Johnston, a a qualified solicitor and independent financial adviser, said: “As an independent Scottish firm we completely understand why those involved in private enterprise need to get a firm grip –quickly – on whatever comes out of the red box on budget day.” He said it looked increasingly as though “George Osborne could be forced into making some unpopular decisions, including scrapping or reducing tax relief on pensions”.

Derek Hanlan, director of taxation at Craig Corporate which he joined in 2008, said: “We are looking forward to once again participating in The Herald budget briefing event to discuss the impact of the chancellor’s 2016 budget. It would appear that Mr Osborne may take this opportunity to make a number of changes to the taxation system, and it will be fascinating to discover how this is received by fellow panel members and the audience.”

The University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School’s expert is Professor Ronald MacDonald, who has advised governments, central banks and international organisations such, as the IMF and the European Commission, on issues in macroeconomics and international finance. He said: “In terms of the overall UK economy, and given the continuing impotence of monetary policy, the chancellor may now decide to loosen the stance of fiscal policy by increasing public investment. This could be made broadly consistent with existing deficit reduction planning if the chancellor moves to a deficit measure inclusive of public investment.”

Fraser Campbell, partner and head of family business services at Campbell Dallas, and a regular panellist at the Herald’s budget briefing event, said: “Family businesses account for 73% of all businesses in Scotland and right now they seem to have fallen into the second division in terms of economic development priorities for the government. I would like to see more tax breaks and incentives to help relieve some of the pressure family businesses are feeling on their bottom line as they deal with increased costs arising from pension’s auto enrolment, national living wage, accounting regulatory changes and taxation changes from the last budget”.

The free event will begin at 8am on Thursday, March 17 at 200 St Vincent Street in Glasgow. To attend this event please contact Lynsay Wong on 0141 302 6082 or For more information please view –