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Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced her new Cabinet line-up following the recent election.

Following the reappointment yesterday (18 May) of John Swinney as Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery, taking responsibility for driving cross-government action on Covid Recovery, the rest of the top tier ministerial appointments have been confirmed.

The First Minister 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.

“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.”  

Kate Forbes takes on an expanded brief as Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, including responsibility for the Scottish Budget, fiscal policy and taxation, economic strategy, the wellbeing economy, trade and inward investment, city and regional growth deals, enterprise and the digital economy.

Humza Yousaf becomes Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, with responsibility for the NHS, including ongoing health service remobilisation as we move out of the pandemic. Mr Yousaf’s portfolio will also cover the establishment of the National Care Service.

Shirley-Anne Somerville becomes Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, taking forward work on Covid recovery within the education system, as well as continuing the Government’s mission to further close the attainment gap.

Michael Matheson takes on a new role as Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport. The portfolio brings together cross government responsibility for coordination of Net Zero policy, encompassing transport, environmental protection, energy and COP26 delivery.

Keith Brown becomes the new Cabinet Secretary for Justice, with responsibility for reform of the justice system as well as work to reduce reoffending.

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

Mairi Gougeon becomes Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands. The post 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. The portfolio covers constitutional policy, cross-government coordination of European and wider external relations, including post-Brexit relations.

Following the Cabinet reshuffle, Scottish Land & Estates paid tribute to the long and dedicated service of Fergus Ewing to rural Scotland. The rural business organisation also expressed their enthusiasm to work with Mairi Gougeon in her role as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the rest of the First Minister’s team.

Sarah-Jane Laing, Chief Executive of SLE said: “On behalf of SLE I would like to extend our thanks to Fergus for his years of service to rural Scotland. No one can doubt his commitment to farming, rural business, sustainable rural development and reforestation, and it is right that we recognise his many achievements in post.

“Fergus was an engaged and informed Cabinet Secretary, attuned to the priorities of the rural economy. He was always willing to work with and listen to rural business stakeholders. I personally enjoyed working with him on a range of initiatives and policies, including the women in agriculture taskforce and to deliver vital, business saving support for rural tourism during the pandemic. We wish him well and look forward to working closely with him in his capacity as MSP for Inverness and Nairn.

“We would like to congratulate Mairi Gougeon on her appointment as Rural Affairs Cabinet Secretary. We worked well with Mairi while she was in post as a Minister in Fergus’ team and we look forward to working together on a host of issues including the delivery of a long term integrated land use policy.

“Of course, SLE members have a diverse range of businesses interests, from housing to environmental management. This is why we put people, jobs and nature at heart of our manifesto asks for the next government.

“We congratulate Kate Forbes on her reappointment as Cabinet Secretary for Finance and new Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government Shona Robison. We wish Michael Matheson well as he takes on the vitally important portfolio of Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy & Transport.

"We look forward to meeting with all of the new Cabinet Secretaries and their Ministers in good time, and working with them to deliver a strong recovery, centred on evidence-based policy, for the benefit of people, jobs and nature in rural Scotland.”

The reaction from Scottish Land & Estates has been added since the article was first posted.