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Iain Gray moves to become Enterprise Minister

04/05/2002

Iain Gray, currently the Minister for Social Justice, has been appointed as the new Minister for Enterprise, Transport and Lifelong Learning in the Cabinet.

He takes over the portfolio from Wendy Alexander who resigned yesterday. Mr Gray's former deputy at Social Justice, Margaret Curran, is appointed Social Justice Minister.

Mr McConnell said:

"Iain Gray is an experienced and talented Minister who has a proven track record in dealing with a wide range of challenging issues in his previous roles at Justice and Social Justice, in particular the successful housing stock transfer ballot - the biggest single public sector modernisation project in Europe.

"I know that he has the skills and ability to drive forward the economic strategy that we have developed with the business community and which will bring higher growth rates and more employment to Scotland.

"Iain shares my commitment to continuing to develop and consolidate the relationships forged with the business, transport and learning sectors. Both he and I will continue our programme of meeting key business leaders over the coming months to continue that essential dialogue."

Iain Gray said he was delighted at the appointment. He added:

"This is an exciting opportunity to drive forward the Smart, Successful Scotland economic strategy that is central to the Executive's vision for Scotland.

"I am absolutely delighted to be given the chance to work with the business, transport and learning communities in a portfolio that will be vital in building for the long term.

"A strong economy is the cornerstone of a successful Scotland - a Scotland where the opportunity gap is closing and where everyone has the chance to achieve their full potential. I look forward to the challenging of helping to achieve that."

The First Minister also announced today that former deputy Minister for Social Justice Margaret Curran has been appointed Minister for the portfolio.

Commenting on the appointment of Margaret Curran, Mr McConnell said:

"Margaret has worked tirelessly for social justice since entering Parliament and I am confident she will bring the same enthusiasm, energy and commitment to her new job that she has shown as deputy. I want to close the opportunity gap in Scotland and Margaret Curran is just the person to do make a difference."

Ms Curran said:

"I am delighted to accept this important job. It has many challenges not least transferring Glasgow's housing stock and defeating child poverty but I am confident this government can change Scotland for good and look forward to working with my ministerial colleagues."

Mr McConnell also announced that Hugh Henry, currently deputy Minister for Health, has been appointed as deputy Minister for Social Justice while Frank McAveety will replace Hugh Henry as deputy Minister for Health.

The ministerial appointments announced by the First Minister today are subject to the approval of the Queen and agreement by Parliament.

Biographies

Iain Gray

The MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands was born in Edinburgh in 1957. He was educated at Inverness Royal Academy and George Watson's College, Edinburgh. He later achieved BSc (Hons) Physics and Cert Ed Secondary Maths/Physics.

He was a secondary school teacher for seven years in the Lothians and two years in Mozambique. He has also worked for OXFAM for over 12 years and has travelled in Africa and South America. He is campaign manager for OXFAM in Scotland. Ian Gray is a member of TGWU and ACTS. He has been married twice and has one daughter and two stepdaughters.

Social Justice Minister Margaret CurranMargaret Curran

The MSP for Glasgow Baillieston was previously a lecturer in community education and an election agent. She graduated from Glasgow University where she studied History and Economic History. Ms Curran has a wide-ranging experience of local government and community education work, and is particularly interested in education and economic and urban regeneration

Hugh HenryHugh Henry

The MSP for Paisly South was born in Glasgow in 1952, Hugh Henry was in local government from 1984 to 1999. He was leader of West Renfrewshire council from 1995 to 1999. He is a Bachelor of Accountancy and is a member of the TGWU and is married with two daughters and one son.

FRank McAveetyFrank McAveety

The MSP for Glasgow Shettleston was a councillor for Glasgow District Council from 1988-95 and Glasgow City Council from 1995-99. Born in Glasgow in 1962, he obtained BA Joint Honours (English and History) at Strathclyde University in 1983. He also obtained a Post Graduate Secondary Teaching Certificate.

A secondary school teacher from 1984-98, he was involved with the Arts and Culture Committee from 1992-97 where he was initially a Vice Convenor then progressed to be Convenor. He is a member of the EIS and T&G unions. He played a major role in delivering local housing strategy and chaired the area committee, which resulted in Regeneration Priority Partnership Area status for Greater Easterhouse. He was a Board Member of Glasgow Development Agency, Chair of Glasgow Alliance and Board Member of The Arches Theatre Company and Citizen's Theatre Company. He is married with two children; a son and daughter.