Next week’s UK Government Budget comes at a “critical” time for the economy, it has been declared.

The Herald will be hosting a Budget Briefing Breakfast next Thursday (March 7) to analyse the detail of Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt’s Spring Statement, which will be announced the day before.

A range of experts will be on hand to debate the ramifications, including Derek Hanlan of accountancy firm Martin Aitken, Grant Johnston of law firm Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie, Emma Congreve, deputy director of the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute, and Sara Thiam, chief executive of business organisation Prosper.

The event will be hosted by veteran political commentator, and Herald columnist, Brian Taylor. Mr Taylor said: “This is a critical time, for both politics and the economy. In the Budget, the Chancellor faces a key choice: to protect spending on public services or to cut taxes in order to appeal to his party’s voters. Expect him to seek a blend of the two.

“Whatever emerges, the Herald Budget Briefing will offer insight and analysis, explaining what the Chancellor’s decisions mean in practice for business and families.”

Ms Thiam said: “With the economy in a shallow recession and business investment forecast to fall this year, the Chancellor should prioritise growth and investment which builds prosperity. We are calling for him to target incentives for business investment in innovation and employees’ skills and health, and produce a new strategy to deliver higher investment in transforming key national and local infrastructure.

“We believe that he should also provide multi-year funding for public services which enables them to support people and the economy effectively, and plan reforms which improve their productivity. Finally, we’d like the Chancellor to make decisions on taxes which promote growth and investment in key Scottish industries.”

Mr Johnston said: “In light of the unpredictability surrounding this year's Budget, our approach must be one of vigilance and flexibility. The interplay between political dynamics in Holyrood and Westminster introduces a level of complexity to economic forecasting that is unparalleled in recent years. Given this backdrop, our team is preparing for a range of outcomes, understanding that the strategic advice we offer to our clients must be both resilient and adaptable to swift changes in fiscal policy.

“Our aim is to ensure that our clients are not just shielded from volatility, but also positioned to capitalise on opportunities that may arise from the Budget. Attending The Herald’s Briefing Budget is a way for us to get a feel for what others in corresponding professions are thinking and can be a useful human touch to confirm or question your theory on what the reality of the Budget will look like.”

Mr Hanlan noted: “Should the rumoured tax cuts be delivered the views of the panel and the wider attendees will be fascinating. As much as our clients are always looking to minimise their tax liabilities, there is a growing opinion that stability and status quo would be the preferred takeaway from this Budget.”

Tickets, which are selling fast, can be purchased at