New Scottish Cabinet
The Scottish Government’s new Cabinet team has been announced by First Minister Alex Salmond, subject to the necessary parliamentary approval.
Reflecting the success of the last administration and government continuity, each of the Cabinet Secretaries returns to the role they discharged in the previous parliament.
Changes are that John Swinney’s portfolio of Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth has an intensified focus on jobs, while Alex Neil joins the Cabinet in a new portfolio of Infrastructure and Capital Investment, reflecting the Scottish Government’s priority of sustaining capital spending in the face of Westminster cuts in order to strengthen Scotland’s recovery.
There has been strong growth in Scotland’s construction sector where there was a 13.9 per cent increase in workforce jobs to 189,000 over the year to December 2010, compared to a decline of 2.4 per cent in the UK as a whole over the same period.
In addition, Bruce Crawford and Fiona Hyslop, who attended Cabinet in the previous administration, become Cabinet Secretaries.
Mr Crawford becomes Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business and Government Strategy, where he will co-ordinate work across government, and seek to build the maximum possible support across the chamber for the administration’s policy and legislation.
Reflecting the increased potential to boost Scotland’s economic and cultural opportunities on a wider stage, given the extraordinary international interest in Scotland’s progress, Ms Hyslop becomes Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs.
There will thus be a Cabinet of nine elected members, the First Minister and eight Cabinet Secretaries out of the governing party’s parliamentary group of 68.
This compares to 10 during the administration of Donald Dewar, and 11 during Henry McLeish’s and Jack McConnell’s terms as FM.
Regarding Scotland’s Law Officers, the new Lord Advocate is Frank Mulholland, who steps up from the position of Solicitor General to succeed Elish Angiolini.
The new Solicitor General is Lesley Thomson who has build up a substantial reputation and expertise in the field of criminal confiscation.
Details of Ministers will be announced tomorrow andmotions to seek parliamentary approval for the appointments will be made next Wednesday (May 25). Only those new to a position of Cabinet Secretary, Minister, Lord Advocate and Solicitor General require nomination.
Reflecting the pay freeze taken by the Scottish Government for the past three years, all Cabinet Secretaries, Ministers (and Law Officers) will receive a salary as at the April 1, 2008 level both for their Ministerial and MSP salary.
Mr Salmond, who earlier received his Royal Warrant, signed by the Queen, and took the official oath at the Court of Session confirming him as FM and Kepper of the Scottish Seal, said:
" The Scottish Government secured re-election on the basis of a successful team, and I am delighted to appoint my colleagues to a strengthened Cabinet team, delivering on the priorities of the people of Scotland.
" Alex Neil joins the Cabinet for the first time, reflecting a renewed focus on jobs and investment, so that we sustain Scotland’s recovery. This week, Scottish unemployment fell below the rate south of the Border, and we are determined to continue this progress which is why we also need to win new job-creating powers in the Scotland Bill.
" As a Cabinet Secretary, Bruce Crawford will deliver on the government’s pledge to seek the maximum possible support for the government’s policy and legislative proposals regardless of our majority position and he will take on an important new role of developing government strategy and co-ordinating policy delivery across portfolios.
" Major new opportunities are opening up on the global stage, with enormous and growing international interest in Scotland, and as Cabinet Secretary Fiona Hyslop will be in a position to ensure that these are realised in full for the nation’s commercial and cultural benefit.
"T he Law Officers of Frank Mulholland and Lesley Thomson are Scotland’s tough new prosecution team. The Lord Advocate will be bringing his proposals for new measures to crack down on sectarian crime to Cabinet next week. And Lesley Thomson as Solicitor General is an expert on criminal confiscation she will be stepping up the Crown Office’s efforts even further to strip law breakers of their ill-gotten gains, so that they can be invested in community projects to give our young people new and healthy life opportunities.
New Cabinet with portfolio responsibilities
First Minister Alex Salmond MSP
Head of the Scottish Government: responsible for development, implementation and presentation of Government policy, constitutional affairs, and for promoting and representing Scotland.
Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy Nicola Sturgeon MSP
NHS, health service reform, allied healthcare services, acute and primary services, performance, quality and improvement framework, health promotion, sport, Commonwealth Games, public health, health improvement, pharmaceutical services, food safety and dentistry, community care, older people, mental health, learning disability, carers, substance misuse, social inclusion, equalities, anti-poverty measures, veterans, and cities strategy.
Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth John Swinney MSP
The economy, the Scottish Budget, employment, public service reform, deregulation, local government, public service delivery, and community planning, Registers of Scotland, Scottish Public Pensions Agency, relocation, e-government, budgetary monitoring, business and industry including Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise’ trade and inward investment, corporate social responsibility, voluntary sector and the social economy, community business and co-operative development, energy, renewables, tourism, building standards, land use planning system.
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Michael Russell MSP
Further and higher education, science and lifelong learning, school education, early years, training and skills, new education agency, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, nurseries and childcare, children’s servies, children’s hearings, social work, Social Care and Social Work Improvement Scotland, Gaelic and Scots.
Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business and Government Strategy Bruce Crawford MSP
Parliamentary affairs and the management of Government business in the Parliament, and developing Government strategy and co-ordinating policy delivery across portfolios.
Cabinet Secretary for Justice Kenny MacAskill MSP
Criminal law and procedure, youth justice, criminal justice social work, police, prisons and sentencing policy, legal aid, legal profession, courts and law reform, anti-social behaviour, sectarianism, human rights, fire and rescue services, community safety, civil contingencies, drugs policy and related matters, liquor licensing, vulnerable witnesses, victim support and civil law, charity law, religious and faith organisations.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment Richard Lochhead MSP
Agriculture, fisheries and rural development including aquaculture and forestry, environment and natural heritage, land reform, water quality regulation, sustainable development, and climate change.Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs Fiona Hyslop MSP
Europe , external affairs, culture and the arts, broadcasting, architecture, built heritage, Historic Scotland and lottery funding, National Records of Scotland, and major events strategy.
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil MSP
Scottish Water, procurement, European Structural Funds, Scottish Futures Trust, transport policy and delivery, public transport, road, rail services, air and ferry services, housing, communities and regeneration.
Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland
Frank Mulholland QC was appointed Solicitor General for Scotland in May 2007.
He has been a prosecutor throughout his career, having joined the Procurator Fiscal Service in 1984, working in Glasgow and Edinburgh offices before taking up policy and managerial posts in the Crown Office.
In 1997 he became the first member of staff from the Procurator Fiscal Service to be appointed as an Advocate Depute (a dedicated trial prosecutor, and legal counsel to the prosecution service).
On completing his term as an Advocate Depute in 1999 he returned to the fiscal service, and was appointed District Procurator Fiscal for Edinburgh in 2001.
In 2003 he broke new ground again by becoming the first serving member of the Procurator Fiscal Service to be appointed as Senior Advocate Depute, and prosecuted numerous significant and high profile criminal cases and appeals. He became a QC in 2005.
He was appointed Area Procurator Fiscal for Lothian and Borders in January 2006, and selected by the Scottish Government to be Solicitor General in 2007.
As Solicitor General he is the second most senior prosecutor in Scotland, and with the Lord Advocate provides legal guidance to the Scottish Government. He has continued to personally prosecute numerous important criminal and appeals cases.
Solicitor General Lesley Thomson
Immediately prior to her appointment as Solicitor General for Scotland, Lesley Thomson was the Area Procurator Fiscal for Glasgow and Strathkelvin. From May 2008 she led a staff of over 300 across the Glasgow area, prosecuting some of the most high profile cases in the busiest courts in Europe.
She has 25 years experience as a prosecutor, having previously been District Procurator Fiscal for Selkirk, District Procurator Fiscal for Edinburgh, and Interim Area Procurator Fiscal for Lothian & Borders, and led on Trial advocacy and Deaths investigation within COPFS
She is an acknowledged specialist in the prosecution of serious crime, including organised crime and financial crime. She is an expert in the Proceeds of Crime legislation, and published the leading textbook on criminal confiscation ("Confiscation: A Practical Guide to Confiscating Crime Proceeds") in 1999.
She joined the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in 1985, and held a number of roles in Procurator Fiscal’s Offices in Greenock, Paisley, and Glasgow before her appointment as Procurator Fiscal for Selkirk.