KATE Forbes became Scotland’s first female Finance Secretary yesterday as Nicola Sturgeon reshuffled her Cabinet.

Nicola Sturgeon began the week by making a number of changes to her government, following the resignation of former finance secretary Derek Mackay amid a texting scandal earlier this month.

Former public finance minister Forbes recently won praise when she stepped in last minute to present the Budget for the Scottish Government after Mackay left his position the night before.

Now, the MSP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber has been appointed his successor permanently. She becomes the youngest person ever to hold the Finance Secretary post.

Sturgeon’s reshuffle also saw former external affairs secretary Fiona Hyslop appointed Economy Secretary as Mackay’s old portfolio was split up. Hyslop’s old position will be absorbed by Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell.

READ MORE: PROFILE: Who is the new Finance Secretary Kate Forbes?

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.”

She added: “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.”

READ MORE: Kate Forbes to be first female Finance Secretary

Ben Macpherson is also set to leave his post as Europe minister to take over Forbes’s role in public finance, with Cabinet newcomer Jenny Gilruth assuming his post.

The SNP leader continued: “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 well-being 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.”

Forbes’s first major task in her new position will be passing the draft budget in its final vote on March 5, following an accelerated period of scrutiny by MSPs due to a delay in the process.

So far Forbes has led the Scottish Government’s negotiations with other parties and given evidence to the Finance Committee at Holyrood on the spending pledges.

During last week’s Cabinet reshuffle at Westminster, Forbes poked fun at the UK Government’s Budget uncertainty following the resignation of former chancellor Sajid Javid.

Upon learning ministers were unsure if the Budget could go ahead on March 11 as planned, the MSP tweeted: “Need a hand with the budget? #HappyToHelp”.