Fiona Hyslop has been named as the new transport minister for Scotland, with the role being restored as a cabinet position after calls from a Scottish council for it to be a more senior role in Scottish government.
This week Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, or Western Isles Council, called for the next transport minister to be appointed at the cabinet level after recent disruption to local ferry services.
Hyslop is a former cabinet secretary and has rejoined government as the minister for transport. Some of her experience includes work across the Scottish Parliament, having held multiple ministerial roles, including responsibility for the economy.
First minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf also changed Màiri McAllan’s cabinet secretary remit to transport, net zero and just transition.
McAllan will now be more involved in the transport brief, now that is has been restored to cabinet level.
What’s more, responsibility for the green economy will move from McAllan to Richard Lochhead, whose job title has changed from minister for small business, trade and innovation to minister for small business, innovation, tourism and trade. Lochead will report to McAllan on relevant issues and policy in this area.
This will free up more of the transport secretary’s time to focus on transport-related issues, the Scottish government has said.
In addition, the first minister has also adjusted the responsibilities of Gillian Martin, post holder for minister of energy. Her title has likewise changed to ‘minister for energy and the environment’.
According to a government statement, she will report jointly to the cabinet secretary for the wellbeing economy and to the cabinet secretary for rural affairs, land reform and islands.
Hamza Yousaf, first minister, said: “I am pleased to announce that I am strengthening the ministerial team on transport. I have taken two steps: first, by changing Màiri McAllan’s remit, I am freeing her to take a direct day-to-day role in transport, effectively bringing transport explicitly back into cabinet.
“Second, I am bringing one of the most experienced politicians in the Scottish Parliament – Fiona Hyslop – into the role of Minister for Transport. Her return to government means she can bring her decades of experience across government to bear on the challenges that exist, not least around ferry services.
“Finally, I am using this opportunity to also bring some extra support to the rural portfolio by expanding Gillian Martin’s role, and ensuring that Richard Lochhead’s title reflects his responsibilities supporting business across Scotland. This will ensure that the significant policy plans of this Government can be pursued with vigour.”
The new minister for transport’s appointment will be subject to agreement by parliament and approval of His Majesty The King.