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Nicola Sturgeon announces new Scottish Government Cabinet

Nicola Sturgeon's new look Cabinet announced (Picture: Alamy)

Nicola Sturgeon announces new Scottish Government Cabinet

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced her new Scottish Government Cabinet, following the SNP's election victory earlier this month.

Humza Yousaf is the new health secretary, moving from justice, and Shirley-Anne Somerville has taken on the education portfolio.

Kate Forbes, who has guided the country's finances during the pandemic, takes on an expanded brief, which also covers economy.

Keith Brown, the SNP's deputy leader, replaces Yousaf in justice and John Swinney, formerly the education secretary, continues in his role as deputy first minister and also takes responsibility for driving cross-government action on COVID recovery.

Shona Robison is appointed Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government, tasked with reducing child poverty as well as work to deliver 100,000 affordable homes. 

Michael Matheson takes on a new role as Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport.

Meanwhile, Mairi Gougeon becomes Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands. The includes responsibility for agriculture, food and drink policy, fisheries and aquaculture as well as cross-government coordination of policies for island communities.

Angus Robertson is appointed as Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, External Affairs and Culture.

Sturgeon said: "I’m delighted to announce the Scottish Government’s new Cabinet team. Scotland needs a serious government for the serious times we face as a nation, and in the top level ministerial line-up I have announced today we have exactly that.

"It is a government which will drive Scotland forward, as we look to build a just, fair and sustainable recovery from the Covid pandemic.

"My Cabinet team combines experience with new arrivals and fresh faces, giving us the range and depth of talent we need to tackle the pressing issues we need to tackle, from COVID to climate change.

"This term of office is unquestionably the most important one the nation has faced since devolution, more than 20 years ago. We are dealing with the joint challenges of a global pandemic and recovery from it, the ongoing tests posed by Brexit and the urgent, pressing need to take forward our net zero agenda as part of the global efforts to secure a greener future.

"The magnitude of these challenges is clear, but now is not a moment to shirk from those tasks but to embrace them. In the next five years, we have a chance to shape Scotland permanently for the better, creating a healthier, happier, fairer, more prosperous and more sustainable country for everyone who calls Scotland home, establishing a positive legacy for future generations.

"The immediate challenge is the focus on recovery and the part that all policy portfolios can play in that. But, as I have made clear, when the crisis is over and the time is right, Scotland must and will have the chance to choose its future in line with the unquestionable democratic mandate for that choice."

The First Minister will complete the government team when appointments to junior ministerial roles are announced later today.

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader, offered his congratulations to those appointed, saying his party would be willing to work with the government where there is consensus.

He said: "This parliamentary term will be the most defining period for our nation since devolution and more than ever we need a government focused on recovery.

"Not only will the new government have to lead Scotland out of a pandemic, they will have to take action to rectify the several failings of the previous government, including the drugs death crisis and the looming exams debacle.

"Where there is agreement, Scottish Labour is ready to work with the Scottish Government to secure our recovery from COVID-19. But we will not be afraid to call out the failures of the government."

Read the most recent article written by Jack Thomson - First Minister: It’s 'unlikely' COVID restrictions will ease further at end of June

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