Joint Presidents’ Edinburgh lunch

Function: Joint Presidents’ Edinburgh lunch
22 May 2024

Close to 100 guests from across Scotland’s tax, accountancy and legal professions gathered in Edinburgh last month for the CIOT/ATT Joint Presidents’ Lunch, which this year took place in the new surroundings of the city’s Royal College of Physicians.

In his opening remarks, CIOT President Gary Ashford reflected on a Presidential year that has seen CIOT welcome its 20,000th member, continue to press HMRC for improvements to service levels and facilitate debates on a range of topical tax policy issues.

ATT President Simon Groom looked forward in anticipation to ATT welcoming its 10,000th member and spoke warmly of the work being driven by the Association’s technical team to boost interest in (and understanding of) tax matters through a series of new ‘explainer’ videos.

This year’s guest speaker was Professor Graeme Roy, chair of the Scottish Fiscal Commission, the country’s official independent economic and fiscal forecaster.

Professor Roy spoke about the emergence and impact of tax devolution in Scotland. Although the introduction this year of a new 45p ‘advanced’ rate of income tax, alongside a further 1p increase to the ‘top’ rate of tax (to 48%), has fuelled concern among some that Scotland’s income tax regime could deter high earners from remaining in the country, Professor Roy noted that it remains difficult to predict what the impact of further divergence will be on Scotland’s economy.

Next year will see both CIOT and ATT led by Scottish Presidents, as Charlotte Barbour and Senga Prior take the reins of the Institute and Association respectively. Their upcoming presidential years were acknowledged by the current presidents in their remarks.

Immediately prior to the lunch, the leaderships of CIOT and ATT brought together representatives from professional bodies, including ICAS, ICAEW and the Law Society of Scotland, for a roundtable that considered the emerging impact of artificial intelligence on their respective professions.

The group heard from Steph Wright, head of the Scottish AI Alliance, a group set up in partnership with the Scottish government to deliver on the vision of Scotland’s AI Strategy. You can find out more about the work of the group at


Simon Groom, Charlotte Barbour, Professor Graeme Roy, Senga Prior and Gary Ashford.
Simon Groom, Charlotte Barbour, Professor Graeme Roy, Senga Prior and Gary Ashford.