Two of the leading figures in the Scottish independence debate will go head-to-head in the north-east next month.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and Finance Secretary John Swinney will be the main speakers at the referendum event at Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) on June 19.
Leading experts in constitutional law and the economy will also provide professional analysis on some of the burning issues.
Audience members will also have the chance to get involved.
The panel will take questions from the floor, while specialist voting technology will be used for polls on key topics.
The Press and Journal, as media partner for the event, will publish some of those results exclusively the following day.
The event has been organised jointly by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Aberdeen Entrepreneurs, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors and the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.
Carolyn Maniukiewicz from, Aberdeen Entrepreneurs, who is director of Fyvie-based Ideas In Partnership, said: “I think the event will be really successful in bringing together the leading business organisations and business people in the north-east.
“The results of the questionnaire will be very interesting and very reflective of what the business community in Aberdeen city and shire think about the independence debate.”
Chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Robert Collier, added: “Businesses want the same as voters.
“They want clarity about the full scope and real nature of the futures being proposed by each campaign, so they can make their own informed judgment and help workforces to arrive at their own decisions.”
Andy Willox, the Federation of Small Businesses’ Scottish policy convener, said the nation’s 340,000 small enterprises would be presented with a “big choice”.
He added: “While the FSB in Scotland will maintain a neutral position on the vote, we want to make sure that our members have the best available information on issues which might affect their business.
“We also want to make sure that small business issues are heard during the debate. With more than half of Scotland’s private sector workforce employed in small and medium-sized businesses, it is clear why both sides have to make a clear case to our members and the wider small enterprise community.”
Mike Bowyer, chairman of the Institute of Directors, said the organisation would not be coming out in favour of either the Yes or No camp, but wanted as much “factual information” as possible for members to make up their minds.
He said: “It can be hard to identify what the real facts are amongst all of the ‘spin’ we are being bombarded with on a daily basis, so we felt that it would be helpful if we could stage a local event where our members can hear some unbiased ‘expert’ input about the economic and legislative aspects of devolution and not only hear directly from a senior politician representing each side about why they should support their position but also have the opportunity to ask them the burning questions they might otherwise never have the opportunity to hear answered.”
Christine O’Neill, chairwoman of Brodies LLP, the main sponsor of the event, said: “We know, through our discussions with clients, that the issue of currency, particularly in relation to contracts, is of key importance, as is membership of the EU.
“Equally, imminent changes to devolved taxation are crucial to some businesses.”
Callum Wilson, tax partner at associate sponsor Johnston Carmichael, said: “As Scotland’s largest independent accountancy firm, Johnston Carmichael recognise the importance of the referendum and welcome the opportunity for the issues to be presented to an audience that will ask appropriate questions and judge the arguments on their merits.
“Many of the businesses we speak to seek clarity on a range of subjects and we hope this event will provide them with the answers they require.”
Tickets, priced at £40, including parking at the AECC, can be booked online at www.agcc.co.uk/book.