Tax Advisers' Budget Banquet
Thursday 7th March 2019
It is not uncommon for Livery Company hosts to seek to surprise and delight their guests at formal dinners. However, the Tax Advisers really stood out when they included in the Receiving Line beside the Master a living, breathing owl. Her name was Sage and she was completely unphased by the grand surroundings of the Clothworkers' Hall and the stream of guests that passed her by. Indeed, I sensed the feeling of some disdain as she looked on in a regal manner, occasionaly preening to lift the boredom of being the star of this show. Photographs were taken and the processional party made is way to dinner with Sage on the arm of some servant.
The Tax Advisers are a young, modern Company but it will be no surprise to hear that it is sizeable, well resourced and includes members of some stature in the industry and the City at large. The Budget Banquet historically was timed to coincide with the Spring Budget of the Chancellor of the Exchequer and was an opportunity to allow the Master and Principal Guest to address pertinent issues derived therefrom. Since tradition has been upturned by the current incumbent of No.11 with the Budget now being delivered in the Autumn, the Tax Advisers' faced a conundrum. Do they move the Budget Banquet to the Autumn or leave it in the Spring? They chose the latter and transformed a traditionally good sized attendance into a very large one. The professionals no longer had to be heads down at their desks poring over numbers.
Thus it was that the Company and its guests were able to tuck in to a most enjoyable dinner with delicious wines in a most leisurely atmosphere. The speeches were somewhat relevant to the industry but much more skewed to broader City matters, particularly that of the Company's Past Master and Past Lord Mayor, Alderman Ian Luder who applied a light touch for the amusement of the room. The only one that was not amused was Sage. Apparently, the caterers had failed to meet her dietary requirements and she did not care for the music. Insisting that her people get her out of there (no paparazzi, please!), I understand it took some time to smooth the ruffled feathers.