Here’s a guide to the Scottish government cabinet reshuffle and new roles

FIRST Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Wednesday her new streamlined cabinet composition, with significant changes in the roles and responsibilities of cabinet secretaries and junior ministers. Two senior positions were cut, bringing the number of cabinet secretaries from 12 in the 2018 reshuffle to 10. Many portfolios have had responsibilities moved or given new cases, so The National has figured out what you need. know.

THE biggest change is the new role of former Education Secretary John Swinney as Secretary to the Cabinet for Covid-19 recovery. His brief will involve coordinating work across ministries and chairing a multi-stakeholder steering group on the way forward, which is due to meet for the first time next week.


Almost all of the major Cabinet roles have had new responsibilities assigned to their tenure for the next Parliament. Health and sports have now become health and social care as Humza Yousaf (below) takes over the portfolio, which will include the creation of a national care service. Michael Matheson has seen his transport dossier expanded to include Net Zero and Energy responsibilities, as Scotland prepares for COP26 this year.

The role of Constitutional Relations, now led by Angus Robertson, has also been expanded to include the dossier for Culture and External Affairs – which was a stand-alone role under Fiona Hyslop since 2011.

The previous portfolio of communities and local governments was transformed into social justice, housing and local government led by Shona Robison. It will be responsible for delivering 100,000 new homes and reducing child poverty.

And finally, the only junior minister to be promoted, Mairi Gougeon, was given the mandate of Rural and Islands Affairs, a slight change from the previous dossier of Fergus Ewing’s cabinet secretary who covered the rural economy.


TWO of the portfolios – Finance and Economics under Kate Forbes, and the Justice dossier supported by Keith Brown. And Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Deputy Prime Minister John Swinney will continue in office.


There are now 15 junior ministers spanning a series of briefs, up from 13 in the 2018 reshuffle and 12 after the 2016 election. Key ministers to watch include Mairi McAllan, previously special adviser to the FM, who is assuming the role of minister of Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform, alongside Gougeon in rural affairs and Mathieson in Net Zero.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon selects best team to secure Scottish independence

Richard Lochhead rose from higher education to minister for just transition, employment and fair work, and Maree Todd, who was minister for children, becomes minister for public health, human health women and sports.


This is because there are still five female cabinet secretaries and five men. For subordinate ministers, there are seven women and eight men.

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