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'Incredibly talented' Kate Forbes becomes Scotland's finance secretary after appointments announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon; the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP will also retain her digital economy remit; Inverness and Nairn MSP Fergus Ewing also takes on tourism as part of his increased role as cabinet secretary for rural economy and tourism

By Scott Maclennan

MSP Kate Forbes speaking in Holyrood.
MSP Kate Forbes speaking in Holyrood.

Highland MSP Kate Forbes has been appointed the finance secretary by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon after what was widely acknowledged as a stellar performance delivering the Scottish budget at short notice.

Miss Forbes took over after the sudden resignation by Derek Mackay after allegations he inappropriately messaged a 16-year-old boy over a period of months emerged just hours before he was to deliver the budget statement.

In what is a reduced portfolio, Miss Forbes will retain the finance aspects while Fiona Hyslop will take over the economy elements of the job while as cabinet secretary for economy, fair work and culture.

Announcing the move, Ms Sturgeon said: “I am 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.

“Fiona Hyslop has been an outstanding cabinet secretary, delivering a successful expansion of Scotland’s overseas presence and recognition, supporting our booming tourism industry and demonstrating the huge importance of culture – not just to our economy but more importantly to who we are and how we see ourselves.

“I know she will bring that drive, passion and sharp focus to Scotland’s economy.

“Working alongside Kate Forbes as the cabinet secretary for finance, she will continue to drive forward our economy, support our key industries and maintain Scotland’s long tradition as an outward-looking, dynamic and enterprising nation.”

Miss Forbes' former position as public finance minister will be taken by Ben Macpherson though she will still retain her digital economy remit.

Fellow Highland MSP Fergus Ewing will take on an added responsibility for tourism as part of his role as cabinet secretary for rural economy and tourism.

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