MINISTERS from the Scottish and UK governments have been lined up to answer questions on the impact the independence referendum will have on the hospitality industry north of the Border.
Scottish tourism minister Fergus Ewing and Scotland Office minister David Mundell will be asked to look beyond the poll at an event hosted by the Institute of Hospitality (IOH) Scotland, Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), Scottish Tourism Alliance and the British Hospitality Association in Scotland on May 20.
The ministers will open proceedings by making short presentations on the respective cases for Scotland becoming independent or remaining part of the Union.
Appearing alongside the politicians at Glasgow Caledonian University will be Robert Cook, chief executive of De Vere Hotels, Rebecca Brooks, managing director of Abbey Tours Scotland, historian Michael Fry and Katie Corrigan, head of hospitality and leisure at Tods Murray solicitors.
Asked to identify the biggest concerns of the hospitality industry in Scotland around the referendum, Ray Lorimer, chairman of IOS Scotland, said: "There is interest in devo max. We think there is a lot being unsaid [about devo max], though we are starting to hear things, for example from Labour.
"We are aware that the SNP are now talking about reducing [air] passenger duty.
"We want to know if there are any other things up their sleeve, for example a fat tax."
Paul Waterson, chief executive of the SLTA, said the outcome of the poll had far-reaching implications for pubs. He said: "We've got our own licensing Act [in Scotland] so we're autonomous in that sense. The problem we have is that if something comes in from Westminster for the trade in England - where it's 70% owned by pub companies - it doesn't always suit us.
"Depending on what happens [in the referendum], are they going to understand the differences?
"How will duty be treated if we are independent? How will duty, excise and VAT be impacted?"
On the issue of minimum unit pricing for alcohol, Mr Waterson added: "David Cameron is saying it definitely won't happen, but what is the position in Europe if Britain pulls out [of the European Union]?"
The debate, which will be moderated by journalist Patrick Duffy, will be the second on Scottish independence to be held by IOH Scotland in less than a year. Its previous event took place at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh on September 18 - a year before the vote - and it expects an even bigger turnout this time as the poll nears.