Portfolio cover

Swinney to cover Forbes’ maternity leave

John Swinney
John Swinney: a return to a previous role (pic: Terry Murden)

Deputy First Minister John Swinney will cover for Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes from 16 July as she takes maternity leave.

The arrangements are being made as Ms Forbes is expecting her first child at the end of July. Mr Swinney will remain Deputy First Minister and responsible for Covid Recovery but some of his other duties will switch temporarily to other ministries.

He was considered the main candidate as a stand-in for Ms Forbes given that he was finance minister between 2007 and 2016. However, he returns to a role made more demanding by the devolution of more taxes and other powers since that time.

Among his trickier tasks will be negotiating pay deals with public sector workers and with Cosla over local council funding.

Ms Forbes is the first serving Cabinet Secretary in the Scottish Government to take maternity leave. She will remain Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy while on leave, resuming her duties upon her return.

Roles that Mr Swinney will not carry over are:

  • cross-government delivery of ‘The Promise’ to Care Experienced Young People, which will be the direct responsibility of the First Minister
  • cross-government co-ordination on UN treaty incorporation which will be taken on by the Education portfolio
  • the Local Governance Review & democratic renewal which will be taken on by the Social Justice portfolio
  • resilience, which will pass to the Justice portfolio

David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “The Deputy First Minister is vastly experienced with a proven track record in government and specifically in the finance portfolio.

“We have worked closely with Ms Forbes on non-domestic rates and the Scottish Budget and look forward to working positively and constructively with Mr Swinney over the coming months on these issues and in implementing the recently published retail strategy.”

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