Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes has promised to cut red tape for businesses, saying she wants to "prioritise jobs and wages, not bureaucracy.”

The Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP said she returned to cabinet after a year on the backbenches as she wants to “get stuff done.”

READ MORE: Swinney in election warning to 'obstructionist' opposition

Ms Forbes had been mulling a bid at the SNP leadership after the resignation of Humza Yousaf.

However, she opted to back John Swinney instead.

In return, he made her his number two, giving her responsibility for the economy and Gaelic.

Her appointment has not been without controversy. Last Thursday, Patrick Harvie suggested the new First Minister was attempting to take Scotland back to the 1950s.

He was critical of both her views on gay marriage and on taxation. 


Writing in The Sunday Times, Ms Forbes set out her plan to get the economy “firing on all cylinders” and make Scotland the “obvious and only location” for global investment.

She said: “As the newly sworn-in Deputy First Minister, with responsibility for the economy, I want to get stuff done.

“Everything is an economic policy – tackling poverty, reaching net zero, raising the revenue to invest in our public services.

“The plan is simple. Get the economy firing on all cylinders, and it will power a better future.”

Outlining some ways forward, she said Scotland is well placed to attract new jobs and investment in the energy industry, while another strength is Scottish food exports such as whisky and salmon which continue to be in high demand around the world.

She also said the “backbone” of the Scottish economy is starting and growing small businesses.

READ MORE: First Minister eyes Bute House policy cull

However, she said the country faces “extremely pressing” demographic challenges, with rural and coastal areas forecast to see double-digit percentage declines in population over coming decades.

Meanwhile, she said growth in cities “masks the fact our working-age population is not growing at a rate that our public services and economy will require”.

Ms Forbes said many of the macro-economic levers lie with the UK Government, but she has “never allowed that to constrain our ambition to do better”.

She said: “My message is simple: Scotland is open for business. My plan is to prove that, to reduce the hurdles to investment, to market the opportunities and to prioritise jobs and wages, not bureaucracy.”