New finance minister Kate Forbes hopes to “do the Highlands proud”

Kates Forbes MSP was appointed the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance this week.

Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, has said she hopes to do the “Highlands proud” after being appointed as the Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Finance this week.

Ms Forbes promotion to the post of finance secretary was announced by the government on Monday. The position became vacant earlier this month when the former incumbent Derek MacKay resigned from the cabinet after being embroiled in text message scandal involving a 16-year old boy.

The revelations about Mr Mackay resulted in Ms Forbes the then Deputy Finance Minister being parachuted into the role of finance minister earlier this month on the eve of the Scottish Budget. In assuming the position, Ms Forbes, become not only the youngest politician to deliver a Scottish Budget since devolution, at just 29 years old, but also the first woman to do so in either the Scottish or UK Parliament.  Despite being given short notice of her duties, the Highland MSP’s handling of the situation attracted praise on what was otherwise a turbulent day for her party.

Ms Forbes, who is a graduate of Selwyn College in Cambridge, was elected as MSP for the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency in May 2016 with a majority of 9,043 votes. As well as her new role, the Scottish Government confirmed that Dingwall-born MSP will retain her current responsibility for the Digital Economy.

Commenting to the Free Press, Ms Forbes said: “I am a Highland MSP, first and foremost, but I am delighted to be taking on new responsibilities as Finance Secretary in the Scottish Government. It is, of course, an exciting new opportunity, but I recognise the scale of the responsibility as well. I hope I do the Highlands proud. Who says Gaelic Medium students can’t do whatever they want to!”

Among the other appointments made on Monday was that of Ben Macpherson MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith who has taken over Ms Forbes’ former role as Public Finance Minister.

First Minister Nicola 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 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.”

Article by Adam Gordon