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New Scottish Cabinet unveiled

Published: 18 May 2016 13:00

Education and economy focus to new Scottish Government team.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has made enhancing Scotland's education system and improving opportunities for young people the top priority of her new Cabinet team, handing responsibility for the portfolio to her longest serving Cabinet Secretary, John Swinney.

Mr Swinney, who has served as Finance Secretary for nine years, will take forward the Scottish Government's ambitious education programme, with a focus on closing the attainment gap and widening access to higher and further education for those from deprived backgrounds.

Mr Swinney will continue to serve as Deputy First Minister and will have responsibility for public sector reform across government.

The new Cabinet team also confirms the First Minister's focus on the economy, with Derek Mackay appointed as Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution and Keith Brown taking up the newly created post of Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work. Mr Brown will retain personal responsibility for Veterans policy.

The economy will also be at the centre of Fergus Ewing's remit as he takes up the post of Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity.

The Environment and Climate Change will have a dedicated Cabinet Secretary for the first time, with Roseanna Cunningham's appointment underlining the Scottish Government's ambitious plans to further reduce carbon emissions, protect and enhance Scotland's environment and take forward the Government's work on land reform

Shona Robison will continue as Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport, building on her achievements and overseeing the Scottish Government's strong record of investment in and reform of the NHS in Scotland as well as guiding the ongoing integration of health and social care.

Michael Matheson will also stay in post as Cabinet Secretary for Justice, maintaining the Scottish Government's support for the police that has seen crime reduced to a 41 year low, while continuing work already begun in areas such as responding to female offending.

There will be continuity too in the culture and external affairs portfolio, with Fiona Hyslop continuing to serve in that area. However, her remit will be widened with a new Cabinet Secretary Culture, Tourism and External Affairs position.

The First Minister also announced that Angela Constance will be the new Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities, tasked with taking forward the implementation of new welfare powers being devolved to Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

"The central focus of the Scottish Government I lead will be ensuring that our education system is world class and that every child in Scotland is given the opportunity to fulfil their potential, no matter their background.

"We have set out ambitious plans to close the attainment gap and widen access to higher and further education and I am absolutely delighted to confirm that John Swinney will take this programme forward as the new Cabinet Secretary for Education.

"John's record is exemplary, overseeing a succession of balanced budgets as well as delivering the recent fiscal framework deal that will underpin the new powers being devolved to the Scottish parliament. His appointment to this crucial role demonstrates how important education is to my government.

"The new Cabinet also reflects my focus on the economy, with three key appointments to implement our economic agenda.

"Derek Mackay will take up the post of Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution, where I am certain that, following his strong performance as transport minister, he will continue the excellent work of his predecessor in overseeing the introduction of new tax powers.

"The economy portfolio will be enhanced with a new post of Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work to be filled by Keith Brown. He will build on his successful delivery of key infrastructure projects across Scotland and work intensively to secure investment into Scotland and support more people into work.

"And we will ensure that the importance of the rural economy is fully reflected in the Scottish Government, with the appointment of Fergus Ewing as Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity, recognising the key challenges faced by the rural economy and the vital importance of transport and broadband links.

"Elsewhere, our public services will remain in excellent hands, with the reappointment of Shona Robison and Michael Matheson as cabinet secretaries for health and justice respectively. Both Shona and Michael have an excellent track record of delivery in these areas and are the best people to oversee our record levels of investment in the NHS and the protection of the police budget.

"Fiona Hyslop will continue her important work supporting Scotland's creative and cultural industries as well as leading on the Scottish Government's position on Europe. For the first time, her responsibilities will also extend to tourism, bringing together different aspects of Scotland's presence in the world.

"Meanwhile, with the Scottish Parliament about to assume new powers over welfare and social security, I can announce the creation of a new role – that of Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities – to be taken up by Angela Constance.

"Finally, with climate change one of the defining challenges of our generation, I can confirm Roseanna Cunningham will take up the new post of Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform. As well as driving forward work to allow Scotland to meet its ambitious climate change targets, Roseanna will have responsibility for implementation of our radical land reform agenda.

"The Cabinet I have announced today will ensure our priorities of education and the economy are given fresh impetus; our public services are reformed and improved and we are able to respond to challenges such as climate change in the years to come.

"The new Scottish Government team has the right mixture of experience and fresh ideas and maintains the gender balance that I believe is important. It is the best team to take Scotland forward."

Notes to editors

New Cabinet with portfolio responsibilities

First Minister: Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Head of the Scottish Government: responsible for development, implementation and presentation of Government policy, constitutional affairs, and for promoting and representing Scotland.

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills: John Swinney MSP

Government Strategy, Delivery and outcomes across portfolios, Resilience, School standards, Educational attainment and closing the attainment gap, National Improvement Framework, Quality and improvement, Teaching profession, School infrastructure and staffing, Qualifications, Behaviour, Measures to combat bullying, The Gaelic and Scots languages, Modern languages, Historical Abuse Inquiry, Named person, Cross Government co-ordination of Public Service Reform, Childcare implementation, Early years, Child protection, Social services workforce, Adoption and Fostering, Children's rights, Looked after children, Children's hearings, Protection of vulnerable groups, Children's services, Widening Access, Higher education and universities, Further education and colleges, Student funding, Science and STEM, Youth work, Skills Development Scotland, Implementation of Wood recommendations.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution: Derek Mackay MSP

Scottish Budget, Fiscal policy, Taxation, Budgetary monitoring and reporting, Scottish Public Finances and their sustainability, Public sector pay and pensions, Scottish Futures Trust, Efficient government, Public Bodies Policy, National Performance Framework, Registers of Scotland, Government procurement, Digital Public Services, Constitution.

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport: Shona Robison MSP

NHS, Elective centres, Health care and social integration, Carers, Adult care and support, Implementing 2020 Vision and National Clinical Strategy, Patient services, NHS staff and pay, Problem alcohol use and recovery, Healthy working lives, National service planning, NHS performance, Acute services, Sporting events and legacy, Patient safety, Quality strategy, Public health, Health protection, Sport and physical activity, Primary care, Mental health, Allied healthcare services, Dentistry, Sexual health, medical records, Health improvement, Drugs policy, Child and maternal health.

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform: Roseanna Cunningham MSP

Climate Change, Flood prevention, water quality, Land reform, Physical and marine environment, Sustainable development, Biodiversity, Natural heritage, Environmental protection, Environmental and climate justice, National parks, Scottish Water.

Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs: Fiona Hyslop MSP

Culture and the arts, Broadcasting, Architecture, Built heritage, National identity, Cross government co-ordination on bringing major events to Scotland, National records, Fair trade, Tourism, International development, Cross-government co-ordination on European Union and international relations, Scottish diaspora.

Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities: Angela Constance MSP

Welfare policy, Community empowerment, Devolution to Communities and Reform of Local Government, Equalities, Religious and faith organisations, Protection and development of Social and Human Rights, Third sector and social economy, Democratic renewal, Local government, Housing, Homelessness, Community planning, Planning, Business improvement districts, Town centres, Building standards, Social security, Implementation of new powers, Measures against poverty, Disabilities, Older people.

Cabinet Secretary for Justice: Michael Matheson MSP

The Justice system, Criminal Law procedure, Civil law, Police, Fire and Rescue services, Legal profession, Violence reduction, Anti-sectarianism, Courts, Sentencing, Security, Human rights, Access to justice, Community safety, Anti-social behaviour, Prisons and prisoners, Female offenders, Criminal justice social work, Victims and witnesses, Reducing reoffending, Youth justice, Liquor licensing.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work: Keith Brown MSP

The Scottish Economy, Infrastructure Investment Policy, Scottish Enterprise, Trade & Inward Investment, Innovation, internationalisation, increasing productivity, Fair work and inclusive growth, Labour market strategy, Living wage, European Structural funds, Infrastructure Investment Policy, Consumer advocacy and advice, Employment policy, Trades Unions, Bankruptcy policy and Accountant in Bankruptcy (AIB), Business, Industry and Manufacturing, Cities, Energy and energy consent, Regional Economic Forums, Life sciences, Financial services, Low carbon economy, Renewable energy industries,Youth and Women's Employment, Employability programmes

Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and Connectivity: Fergus Ewing MSP

Rural Scotland, Highlands Islands Enterprise, Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries, Aquaculture, Food and drink, Crofting, Transport, Connectivity including 100 per cent broadband.

The junior ministerial team will be announced by the First Minister in due course.