Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has named 29-year-old Kate Forbes as Finance Secretary, replacing Derek Mackay.
Forbes has been working as the Scottish Government’s Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy since June 2018, and becomes the first woman to hold the position of Finance Secretary in Scotland.
Her responsibilities in her new role will include managing public finances, fiscal policy and taxation and the Scottish budget. She also remains responsible for Scotland’s digital economy.
Forbes studied history at the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh before embarking on an accounting career, and then moving into politics in 2015. Originally from Dingwall, she has been in office since May 2016 when she was elected MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.
Forbes recently made history by becoming the first female MSP to give a plenary speech entirely in Gaelic in the current Scottish Parliament chamber, and is a strong voice for climate change, leading a campaign to ban plastic straws.
She has also participated in several cross party groups at Holyrood including Crofting, Gaelic, Human Trafficking, Palliative Care and Rural Policy.
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Forbes was assigned to the Finance Secretary post after Mackay’s sudden resignation when it was reported that he had messaged a 16-year-old schoolboy 270 times over a six-month period on social media. Forbes was subsequently handed the responsibility of delivering the Scottish Budget to parliament with only around 14 hours notice to prepare.
In a mini reshuffle following Mackays’s resignation, Ben Macpherson will take over Forbes’ previous role as Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, and Fiona Hyslop will work alongside Forbes as Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture.
Commenting on the reshuffle, Sturgeon said: “These appointments bring new talent into government and deliver a real focus, not only on driving forward our economy, but also on addressing the challenges of Brexit, increasing our population and ending Scotland’s contribution to the climate crisis.
“I’m pleased to make these appointments and – in particular – to be able to put Scotland’s finances and Scotland’s economy into the hands of two incredibly talented colleagues.”