Taking place on 18 September, a year to the day before Scotland asks its people to vote in an independence referendum, the Institute of Hospitality (IOH) Scotland debate 'What independence would mean for the Scottish food, drink and hospitality sectors', will bring together industry experts, MSPs and academics to give their views.
With the hospitality industry employing more than 220,000 people directly in Scotland and another 120,000 indirectly, contributing more than £4bn to the Scottish economy, issues up for debate are expected to include the effect independence would have on employment and growth of the industry, which includes the 110 hotels built since 2000.
Michelin-starred chef Fairlie, chef-patron of Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles, will head up the 'Yes' team which includes retired MSP Jim Mather and SNP MSP Jean Urquhart while Buchanan Smith, owner of the Isle of Eriska Hotel in Oban will be head of the 'No' team which includes Tony Dumbreck, owner of Innovate Foods, and Jackson Carlaw MSP.
Both teams, under the watchful eye of moderator Fergus Chambers FIH, will be given the chance to present their sides of the argument with attendees from the industry also encouraged to question the panel and share their views.
“The debate provides a much needed platform to objectively address the key implications both for and against independence from a Scottish food, drink and tourism perspective," said Ray Lorimer, chairman of IOH Scotland.
“Members of the audience will have the opportunity to put their questions to the panellists, who aim to tackle a range of issues – from Scotland potentially joining the Euro to queries about having our own currency, as well as green energy and renewable targets for Scottish businesses."
The debate will take place from 10am to 12.30pm on 18 September at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. Members of the industry are invited to attend. Tickets are £15 and can be purchased by contacting Lisa Parker or Aileen Stevenson at The Cook School Scotland on 01563 550 008 or via www.cookschool.org/indydebate.
“It promises to be a stirring discussion. I’m confident both sides will justly execute their viewpoint with the energy and enthusiasm you would expect from those passionate about an industry that makes a substantial contribution to Scotland," said Lorimer.