KATE Forbes is set to become the first woman - and the youngest Finance Secretary - after her promotion was announced by the First Minister today, Nicola Sturgeon unveiled the move as she outlined a series of new appointments to the Scottish Government and cabinet following the resignation of Derek Mackay earlier this month.

Forbes, 29, stepped in to deliver the Scottish Budget with just a few hours notice after Mackay stepped down after sending hundreds of messages to a 16 year old boy.

She was widely praised for her performance including by the First Minister and opposition MSPs and was immediately discussed as a possible successor to Sturgeon.

Fiona Hyslop will move from the Europe and External Affairs brief in Cabinet to taking responsibility for the economy as Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture.

As the process of Brexit, and the discussion on Scotland’s constitutional future move into a new phase, Michael Russell’s responsibilities will be expanded as Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs.

Fergus Ewing will take on responsibility for tourism as Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism.

Jenny Gilruth has been nominated to join the Government as Minister for Europe and International Development, where she will support Michael Russell.

Ben Macpherson will move from Europe Minister to join the Finance team as Minister for Public Finance and Migration – where they will continue to make the strong economic and social case for a distinct migration policy for Scotland.

Macpherson will also work on issues around green and climate finance, to help ensure all of Scotland can deliver on our target of ending our contribution to climate change. He will also be tasked with ensuring that wellbeing sits at the heart of the budget process.

The First Minister will propose the appointment of Kate Forbes to Cabinet and of Jenny Gilruth as a Minister to the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

Unveiling her new cabinet and government appointments, the First Minister 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.

“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.

“Ben Macpherson will continue to make the case for Scotland to have a distinct migration system in order to meet our economic, social and financial needs – and as Public Finance Minister will also take the lead on identifying ways to fund climate action, and he will work across government to build a wellbeing economy.

“Jenny Gilruth will join government for the first time – having proven herself as a talented and hard-working MSP – and takes on the role of Minister for Europe and International Development. She will have the important task of promoting Scotland, building new links in a post-Brexit environment and delivering on our global responsibilities – and I know she is more than up to that challenge.”

New Appointments:

Cabinet Secretary for Finance – Kate Forbes (who also retains her current responsibility for the Digital Economy)

Public Finance and Migration – Ben Macpherson

Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fair Work and Culture – Fiona Hyslop

Minister for Europe and International Development – Jenny Gilruth

New Responsibilities:

Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs – Michael Russell

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism – Fergus Ewing