Kate Forbes

Kate Elizabeth Forbes (born 6 April 1990) is the Scottish National Party (SNP) Member of the Scottish Parliament for the constituency of Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, since 2016.[1] Since 17 February 2020, Forbes has served as the Cabinet Secretary for Finance in the Scottish Government.

Kate Forbes

Forbes in 2016
Cabinet Secretary for Finance
Assumed office
17 February 2020
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Preceded byDerek Mackay
Minister for Public Finance
Deputy Finance Secretary
In office
27 June 2018 – 17 February 2020
First MinisterNicola Sturgeon
Finance SecretaryDerek Mackay
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byBen Macpherson
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch
Assumed office
6 May 2016
Preceded byDave Thompson
Majority9,043 (24.8%)
Personal details
Born (1990-04-06) 6 April 1990 (age 30)
Dingwall, Scotland
Political partyScottish National Party
Alma materSelwyn College, Cambridge
University of Edinburgh

Early life and educationEdit

Forbes was born in Dingwall in Ross and Cromarty in northern Scotland.[2] Growing up, she spent three years in India, then was taught in a Scottish Gaelic school.[3] She returned to India at the age of 10 and lived there until she was 15, with her father involved in providing healthcare to people who could not afford it.[2] She returned to Glasgow, Scotland and finished her schooling at Dingwall Academy. She read history at Selwyn College, Cambridge, graduating with a BA in 2011. She worked as an accountant.[2][4] She then studied at the University of Edinburgh, gaining an MSc in Diaspora and Migration History in 2013.[2]

Political careerEdit

In August 2015, Forbes was selected from an all-women shortlist by local SNP members as their candidate for the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch constituency held by Dave Thompson who would not be standing at the next election.[4] She was part of an SNP campaign to address the gender pay gap around employment in the Highlands.[5] She was elected in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.[6]

Until her promotion to the Scottish Government, she chaired the Scottish Parliament's Cross-Party Group on Gaelic[7] and has spoken in favour of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage status as a possible way to protect the language.[8] In March 2018, she delivered an entire speech to the Parliament in Gaelic during a plenary debate on the language.[9]

A member of the Free Church of Scotland,[10] Forbes called on the Government to let children practice religious belief in school without mockery. In May 2018, she said "I wanted to note that pupils should be allowed to explore, develop and understand the diversity of religious faith in Scotland because if they can understand it in school you will hope that as they go through the rest of their life they will be tolerant of people who believe that things are different to them."[11]

On 27 June 2018, she was appointed to the Scottish Government as Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, as part of a wider reshuffle announced by First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.[12]

On 6 February 2020, she became the first woman to deliver the Scottish Budget upon Derek Mackay's resignation as Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work. Prior to this, no woman had delivered a Budget in either the Scottish Parliament or Westminster, although they have in the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies.[13] On 17 February, she was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Finance—the first woman to hold the post.[14]


  1. ^ "Current MSPs: Kate Forbes: Personal Information". Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "Political class". Edit magazine. University of Edinburgh. 27 June 2017. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  3. ^ Freeman, Tom (28 May 2018). "Getting to know you: Kate Forbes". Holyrood. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Katie Forbes gets SNP nod in bid to succeed Dave Thompson as MSP". The Inverness Courier. 25 August 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  5. ^ Burns, Janice (22 February 2016). "SNP launches campaign to plug pay gap in rural areas". The National. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  6. ^ "Election 2016: Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch". BBC News. 6 May 2016.
  7. ^ Parliament, Scottish (28 November 2018). "Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group on Gaelic" (PDF). The Scottish Parliament. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  8. ^ King, Diane (20 July 2017). "Calls to boost Gaelic language with Unesco status". The Scotsman. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  9. ^ Webster, Catriona (29 March 2018). "SNP MSP delivers entire Holyrood speech in Gaelic". The Scotsman. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  10. ^ "Kate Forbes named Scottish Finance Secretary after strong budget performance".
  11. ^ "Chistian Scottish politician says constituents are telling her stories of religious bullying".
  12. ^ Dixon, Andrew (6 February 2020). "Rising star of Scottish politics to take centre stage on budget day, but who is Dingwall-based MSP Kate Forbes?". RossShire Journal. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Kate Forbes becomes first woman to deliver Scottish budget at 29 years old". The Independent. 6 February 2020. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  14. ^ Carrell, Severin (17 February 2020). "Kate Forbes appointed Scotland's first female finance secretary". The Guardian.

External linksEdit

Parliament of Scotland
Preceded by
Dave Thompson
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch