Ministers & Law Officers

The Scottish Cabinet

First Minister

Nicola Sturgeon 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 Education and Skills

John Swinney MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • school standards, quality and improvement
  • school infrastructure & staffing
  • educational attainment, qualifications and closing the attainment gap
  • National Improvement Framework
  • teaching profession
  • behaviour and measures to combat bullying
  • modern languages and the Gaelic and Scots languages
  • Named Person
  • Skills Development Scotland
  • non-advanced vocational skills
  • historical abuse enquiry

Cabinet Secretary for Justice


Humza Yousaf MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • police
  • courts, sentencing
  • justice system and criminal law procedure
  • violence reduction
  • criminal justice social work, victims, witnesses, female offenders
  • human rights
  • prisons and prisoners
  • reducing reoffending
  • security
  • youth justice

Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People

Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • welfare policy, social security
  • measures against poverty (with CSCLG)
  • Best Start Grant (replacing the UK Government's Sure Start Maternity Grant)
  • Funeral Expense Assistance (replacing the UK Government's Funeral Payment)
  • Carers Allowance (at which point we will stop paying Carers Allowance Supplement)
  • Young Carers Grant
  • Personal Independence Payments
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Cold Weather Payments
  • Winter Fuel Payments

As the Minister for Older People and Equalities is currently on medical leave, the Cabinet Secretary has additional responsibilities.

These are:

·         mainstreaming equality

·         human rights

·         older people equality

·         disability equality

·         race equalities

·         women and gender equality

·         violence against women and girls

·         LGBTI equality

·         social isolation and loneliness

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

Roseanna Cunningham MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • climate change and environmental protection
  • biodiversity
  • Crown Estate
  • environmental and climate justice
  • flood prevention & coastal erosion
  • land use and land reform
  • animal welfare
  • wildlife crime
  • water quality and Scottish Water

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism

Fergus Ewing MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • agriculture and crofting
  • fisheries and aquaculture
  • food and drink
  • Highlands & Islands Enterprise
  • South of Scotland Enterprise Agency
  • rural Scotland
  • animal health
  • forestry
  • tourism

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport

Jeane Freeman MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • NHS and its performance, staff and pay
  • Health care and social integration
  • patient services and patient safety
  • primary care, acute services elective centres Implementing the 2020 Vision, national clinical strategy, quality strategy and national service planning
  • allied Healthcare services
  • carers, adult care and support
  • child and maternal health
  • dentistry
  • medical records, health improvement and protection

Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government


Aileen Campbell MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • social justice
  • tackling inequalities
  • measures against poverty (with CSSS)
  • community empowerment, devolution to communities and reform of local government
  • democratic renewal
  • third sector and social economy
  • advocacy and advice
  • religious and faith organisations

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture

Fiona Hyslop MSP

Responsibilities include:

    • Scottish National Investment Bank
    • Scottish economy
    • Inclusive Growth & Fair Work
    • Trades Unions
    • Scottish Enterprise - national enterprise agency
    • Trade and inward investment
    • Creative industries
    • Culture
    • Architecture and built heritage
    • Broadcasting
    • Co-ordination on bringing major events to Scotland
    • National Records


Cabinet Secretary for the Constitution, Europe and External Affairs

Michael Russell MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • The UK's exit from the European Union
  • international relations
  • Government and parliamentary business
  • Constitutional Relations and intra-governmental affairs

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

Michael Matheson MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • transport and public transport
  • infrastructure investment policy
  • cities & City Deals
  • town centres


Cabinet Secretary for Finance

Kate Forbes MSP 

Responsibilities include:

  • Budget Bill 
  • Managing the public finances
  • Fiscal policy and taxation 
  • Income and ADT
  • Fiscal Framework
  • Scottish budget, budgetary monitoring and reporting
  • Government procurement
  • National Performance Framework 
  • Public bodies policy
  • Scottish futures trust
  • Public sector pay
  • Digital Economy


Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans

Graeme Dey MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • government and parliamentary business
  • local government elections
  • Scottish Parliamentary elections
  • Freedom Of Information (FOI) and open government
  • veterans

Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning

Kevin Stewart MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • housing
  • local government
  • planning
  • building standards
  • Business Improvement Districts
  • community planning
  • homelessness
  • regeneration
  • fuel poverty

Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands

Paul Wheelhouse MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • energy and energy consents
  • renewable energy industries
  • connectivity including 100% broadband
  • cross government co-ordination on islands

Minister for Community Safety

Ash Denham MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • community safety
  • access to justice
  • anti-sectarianism
  • anti-social behaviour
  • civil law
  • fire and rescue services
  • liquor licensing
  • legal profession

Minister for Children and Young People

Maree Todd MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • childcare implementation
  • early years
  • child protection
  • adoption and fostering
  • children's hearings
  • children's rights
  • children's services
  • looked after children
  • protection of vulnerable groups
  • social service workforce

Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills

Jamie Hepburn MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • business, industry and manufacturing
  • employment policy
  • labour market strategy, the living wage, and fair work
  • employability programmes
  • youth employment (including implementation of the Wood Commission recommendations)
  • women's employment
  • bankruptcy and Accountant in Bankruptcy (Scottish government agency)
  • regional economic forums
  • PACE
  • non-advanced vocational skills
  • skills Development Scotland (Scotland's national skills agency)
  • consumer protection

Minister for Public Health and Sport

Mairi Gougeon MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • health improvement
  • public health and healthy working lives
  • physical activity, sport, sporting events and events legacy
  • problem alcohol use and recovery, and drugs policy
  • Care Inspectorate
  • carers
  • child and maternal health (excluding mental health)
  • health protection
  • person-centred care
  • self-directed support
  • sexual health 

Minister for Mental Health

Clare Haughey MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • mental health
  • child and adolescent mental health
  • adult support and protection
  • autism, sensory impairment and learning difficulties
  • dementia
  • Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (safeguards the rights of people with mental health problems, learning disabilities, dementia and related conditions)
  • survivors of childhood abuse
  • The State Hospital (Carstairs)

Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment

Ben Macpherson MSP

Responsibilities include:

Responsibilities include:

  • Animal health & welfare
  • Marine planning
  • National Parks and natural heritage
  • Physical and marine environment
  • Sustainable development 

 Minister for Older People and Equalities

Christina McKelvie MSP

Christina McKelvie is on medical leave from 1 March 2021. The Cabinet Secretary for Social Security and Older People will assume her ministerial responsibilities. 

Responsibilities include:

  • equalities
  • protection and development of social and human rights
  • older people
  • disabilities
  • cross government co-ordination of policies in support of women and gender equality

Minister for Trade, Innovation and Public Finance

Ivan McKee MSP 

Responsibilities include:

  • Innovation and increasing productivity
  • Internationalisation and European Structural Funds
  • Trade and inward investment
  • Innovation and increasing productivity
  • Internationalisation and European Structural Funds
  • Life sciences
  • Low Carbon Economy
  • Financial Services
  • Government procurement
  • Government Statistics
  • Fiscal policy and taxation
  • Public sector pensions
  • Efficient Government
  • Registers of Scotland
  • Revenue Scotland
  • Digital Participation

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science

Richard Lochhead MSP

Responsibilities include:

  • Further education and colleges
  • Higher education and universities
  • Science and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)
  • Student funding
  • Youth work
  • Widening access


Minister for Europe and International Development


Jenny Gilruth MSP


Responsibilities include:

  • international development
  • Post-Brexit relations
  • Cross government co-ordination on the European Union
  • Fair Trade
  • Scottish diaspora
  • Migration


Minister for Drugs Policy

Angela Constance MSP

Responsibilities include:

Tackling and reducing the harm of drug misuse, supporting the rehabilitation and recovery of those living with drug addiction, and reducing the unacceptable number of deaths from drugs. The Minister will report directly to the First Minister.


Law Officers

Lord Advocate

James Wolffe QC

The Lord Advocate, also known as Her Majesty’s Advocate, is the senior Scottish Law Officer. The following are the Lord Advocate’s main functions:

  • Head of the systems for the investigation and prosecution of crime and investigation of deaths
  • Principal legal adviser to the Scottish Government
  • Representing the Scottish Government in civil proceedings
  • Representing the public interest in a range of statutory and common law contexts

All prosecutions on indictment run in the name of the Lord Advocate.

Solicitor General

Alison Di Rollo       

The Solicitor General is a Scottish Law Officer. The Solicitor General supports the Lord Advocate in the exercise of the Lord Advocate’s functions, and may exercise, as required, his statutory and common law powers.  

Further information

Scottish Government information about the work of the Scottish Cabinet

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