THE head of the Government's independent tax advisory group is under fire for taking part in an exclusive "networking dinner" for big business.

Lady Susan Rice, chairwoman of the new Scottish Fiscal Commission and a member of the First Minister's Council of Economic Advisers, is the keynote speaker for the £65-a-head event in Edinburgh later this month.

Described by event organiser Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce as one of its "highest level networking series", the "Premier Series Dinner" is at the five-star Balmoral Hotel on October 27. Adverts for the dinner predict "this event is likely to sell out".

Rice, 68, who is also the managing director of Lloyds Banking Group in Scotland, is due to speak on the future of banking.

Labour yesterday questioned whether the event was compatible with Rice's role advising the Government.

A member of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) since 2011, Rice offers advice on key economic issues, including jobs, productivity and measures to stimulate business, and receives briefings from Government economists.

The three-member Fiscal Commission was set up this summer in response to Holyrood acquiring new tax powers as a result of the Calman Commission and the 2012 Scotland Act. It was established to "review Government forecasts of receipts from devolved taxes".

It recently issued its first report into the reliability of figures in Finance Secretary John Swinney's draft budget for 2015-16, which predicted £560 million would be raised from landfill tax and the new land and buildings transaction tax.

Its role is expected to expand in coming years as more tax and economic powers are passed from Westminster to Holyrood.

Rice's fellow Commission members are the economists Professor Andrew Hughes-Hallett and Professor Campbell Leith.

The trio must comply with the "model code of conduct" for members of devolved public bodies. This states that quango members may take in "delegations, conferences or other events", but adds that: "The public must be assured that no person or organisation will gain better access to, or treatment by, you as a result of employing a company or individual to lobby on a fee basis on their behalf."

Labour MSP Michael McMahon, who as a member of Holyrood's finance committee questioned Rice ahead of her appointment, said: "Ms Rice is a very capable individual and it is not surprising that her profile should attract interest from the business community this way. However, this is exactly why her role on the SFC has to be protected.

"She has to make a decision as to whether she is a public servant and Government adviser, or an influential business woman and financial expert, but she cannot be both."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "Lady Rice is both a respected business figure and public servant with impeccable credentials as well as one of Scotland's leading female role models. It is no surprise that because of that experience an organisation like Edinburgh Chambers would invite her to speak."

Neither Rice nor the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce responded to emails asking for comment.