Paul McLennan named minister for housing as new cabinet unveiled

Paul McLennan named minister for housing as new cabinet unveiled

Paul McLennan MSP

Housing will be given its own ministerial office after new first minister Humza Yousaf completed the appointment of his ministerial team.

Consisting of 10 cabinet secretaries, including the first minister, the Scottish cabinet will be supported by 18 junior ministers, with Paul McLennan awarded the housing brief and Joe FitzPatrick named minister for local government empowerment and planning.

As minister for housing, Mr McLennan and minister for equalities, migration and refugees Emma Roddick will work alongside the new cabinet secretary for social justice Shirley-Anne Somerville.

Welcoming the new housing minister, Jocelyne Fleming, policy and public affairs officer for Scotland at the Chartered Institute of Building, said: “The appointment of a dedicated housing minister for Scotland is a very welcome announcement and demonstrates the intention for this area to be a key policy priority going forwards, and we’re delighted the new first minister, Humza Yousaf, has taken this decision.

“The building of new homes and the improvement of Scotland’s existing housing stock has to be a priority for the government in order to grow the economy, tackle the ongoing cost of living crisis and meet carbon reduction targets. It’s encouraging to see this being recognised. As the Scottish Government has acknowledged, everyone should have a warm, safe, affordable and energy-efficient home that meets their needs.

“As such, we welcome the appointment of Paul McLennan, who has campaigned diligently as an MSP to improve the quality of Scotland’s built environment, and with whom we have worked collaboratively over the last 12 months.

“We look forward to continuing our discussions on important matters such as the construction industry’s skills shortages, ongoing development of effective retrofit strategies to improve the energy efficiency of residential properties, and, in support of improving and preserving Scotland’s existing built environment, consideration of the implementation of a Scottish demolition levy to level the unequal playing field between new build and retrofit projects. We hope Paul’s appointment to this new role will mean Government gives housing, and construction more broadly, the attention and support it urgently needs and deserves.”

Meanwhile, ICE Scotland has called on Humza Yousaf to address the resiliency of infrastructure.

Director Ben Westland said: “ICE Scotland congratulates Humza Yousaf MSP on his appointment as First Minister of Scotland.

“We would welcome continued investment in new and existing infrastructure, particularly addressing the climate-related resiliency of Scotland’s current infrastructure, ensuring our roads, railways, canals, ports and water and power systems can withstand the environmental changes Scotland is and will continue to face in the coming years.

“Secondly, as Scotland strives towards its 2045 net zero target, it is vital that the country’s infrastructure sees the necessary investment and adaptations to decarbonise and play a significant role in our just transition to a low carbon economy.”

Joe FitzPatrick will work alongside Shona Robison, the new deputy first minister, who will take on the finance portfolio, including responsibility for the Scottish Budget.

Màiri McAllan joins the cabinet for the first time as cabinet secretary for net zero and just transition. She will work alongside minister for transport Kevin Stewart.

Patrick Harvie retains his role as minister for zero carbon buildings, active travel and tenants’ rights and will work alongside Shirley-Anne Somerville as well as Neil Gray, who joins cabinet for the first time as cabinet secretary for wellbeing economy, fair work and energy.

Elsewhere in the cabinet of ten that sees the economy established as a portfolio in its own right:

  • Michael Matheson becomes the cabinet secretary for NHS recovery, health and social care
  • Jenny Gilruth joins cabinet for the first time as cabinet secretary for education and skills
  • Mairi Gougeon remains cabinet secretary for rural affairs, land reform and islands
  • Angus Robertson remains cabinet secretary for constitution, external affairs and culture
  • Angela Constance returns to cabinet as the new cabinet secretary for justice and home affairs

The junior ministers include:

  • Minister for drugs and alcohol Policy Elena Whitham
  • Minister for independence Jamie Hepburn
  • Minister for cabinet and parliamentary business George Adam
  • Minister for community wealth and public finance Tom Arthur
  • Minister for public health and women’s health Jenni Minto
  • Minister for social care, mental wellbeing and sport Maree Todd
  • Minister for children, young people and keeping the promise Natalie Don
  • Minister for higher and further education; and minister for veterans Graeme Dey
  • Minister for small business, innovation and trade Richard Lochhead
  • Minister for energy Gillian Martin
  • Minister for green skills, circular economy and biodiversity Lorna Slater
  • Minister for culture, Europe and international development Christina McKelvie
  • Minister for victims and community safety Siobhian Brown

Parliament will be asked to approve the new ministerial appointments today. A more detailed breakdown of ministerial responsibilities will be confirmed in due course.

Humza Yousaf said: “The cabinet team I have unveiled reflects the priorities that we will pursue as a government – including tackling child poverty, improving public services and building a fairer, greener economy.

“Ahead of my appointment as first minister, I have committed myself to a radical, ambitious and progressive policy agenda for Scotland – and I know that this team is the right one to deliver it.

“I want to thank those ministers departing government for their leadership over the last few years, through many storms not of our making – the economic damage caused by Brexit, the COVID-19 pandemic, austerity and the cost of living crisis. Those ministers – led so ably by Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney - leave a strong legacy for the new team to build on.

“I have made clear my belief Scotland’s government should look as much as possible like the people we represent. As well as being the first ever first minister from a minority ethnic background, I am pleased that a record number of women have agreed to serve, as well as a significant blend of younger and more experienced members. That said, every single appointment has been made on merit.

“Every single person in this government is clear that it is for the people of Scotland to determine their constitutional future – no one else – and we will work to ensure that they are given that right. As we make the case for Scottish independence, we will continue to govern well and demonstrate to the people of Scotland the benefits of decisions about their lives being taken here in Scotland.

“Subject to Parliament’s approval, the new ministerial team is ready to get to work delivering for the people of Scotland.”

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