Scottish Government to appoint ministers for the digital economy and innovation

The Scottish Government is expected tomorrow to announce the appointment of a ministers for the digital economy and innovation. It comes amid a major reshuffle and expansion of the Scottish Government Cabinet by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“The new appointments are designed to meet current challenges, introduce new talent and ensure the government is capitalising on all opportunities in taking forward its bold and ambitious programme for Scotland,” the Government said in a statement.

Five new Cabinet Secretaries have been appointed, with the overall size of the Cabinet increasing to 12, “to reflect the increasing impact of Brexit on Scottish Government business, and ensure direct Cabinet oversight of the operational delivery of a new social security system”.

The First Minister has appointed Humza Yousaf as Justice Secretary. Among his other responsibilities, he will lead the delivery of new Hate Crime laws.

Jeane Freeman is promoted to become Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport and will continue work to reform the NHS, and prepare it for the future.

Shirley-Anne Somerville has been appointed as a dedicated Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People and will oversee the operational delivery of the first social security payments following the passage of the Social Security Bill.

Aileen Campbell will become Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government and lead the Scottish Government’s work to tackle poverty and inequality and, in partnership with councils, take forward plans to reform local governance.

Following the establishment of the new Scottish system of Income Tax and “with increasing focus on the need for strategic investment to grow the economy”, the First Minister has appointed Derek MacKay and Michael Matheson to two economic posts.

Derek MacKay will become Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work and will be supported by a team of ministers including a Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills alongside new posts of Minister for Public Finance and the Digital Economy, and a Minister for Trade, Investment and Innovation.

Michael Matheson will become Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity. He will be supported by a new Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands, tasked with delivering 100% superfast broadband across Scotland.  Fergus Ewing will continue as Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy.

Michael Russell will join Cabinet with responsibility for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, overseeing the necessary preparations for the UK’s exit from the EU “in a way that protects Scotland’s interests and ensures that the Government’s wider programme of work is not affected, and leading discussions with the UK Government as the Brexit process continues”.

John Swinney, Roseanna Cunningham and Fiona Hyslop will remain in their current posts, while Keith Brown, Shona Robison and Angela Constance will leave the government. The junior ministerial appointments will be announced tomorrow and the new Cabinet will be put to Parliament for approval on Thursday.