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MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston uses SELECT video to urge electricians to add their voice to consultation on regulation

Posted: 29th October 2020

An MSP who is leading the call for recognition of electrician as a regulated professions has urged as many people as possible to add their voices to a parliamentary consultation on the issue before it closes on Tuesday 10 November.

Speaking in an exclusive video interview with campaigning trade association SELECT, Jamie Halcro Johnston, MSP reiterated his view that regulation of the electrical industry in Scotland would help reduce death and injury, bring significant economic benefits and encourage more women and people from ethnic minorities to take up the tools.

The MSP, who is the Scottish Conservative and Unionist party’s Shadow Spokesman for Education and Science, is proposing a bill which would be the culmination of a long-running campaign by SELECT and other industry bodies to safeguard the best interests of the public.

MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston

Mr Halcro Johnston said: “I am urging all electricians and everyone associated with the industry in Scotland to have their say in the consultation process, not just to stress the benefits of regulation but also to take the opportunity to highlight the impact of faulty electrical work carried out by unqualified people.”

A major survey carried out in 2018 showed that faulty electrical installations accounted for 7.1% of all fires in Scotland, and the damage caused to property by these fires cost in the region of £9.6 million.

Mr Halcro Johnston said his proposed bill has cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament chamber, with individual members of all parties making clear their backing for regulation.

He said: “I think there is a general appreciation that this needs to be done and that it is a good thing. I’m confident that it will get achieved in the next session of Parliament, which will be a fantastic achievement for both the sector and consumers.

“We want a simple straightforward approach to this issue, with a clear, accessible register of accredited professional electricians to assure the public that the work of appropriately qualified and registered electricians can be trusted by the public.

 

“And we certainly do not want to add extra bureaucracy to the existing workload of busy, highly-skilled firms and individuals.”

 

SELECT, who have been leading the fight for regulation for several years, welcomed the latest update from Mr Halcro Johnston and echoed his plea for electricians to have their say before the consultation closes.

SELECT Managing Director Alan Wilson said: “We are grateful to Mr Halcro Johnston for providing all SELECT members and others with an insight into the clear progress which is being made in getting his bill onto the statute book.

“And of course, we heartily endorse his call for everyone who has the best interests of Scotland’s electro-technical industry at heart to share their views and contribute to the consultation before the opportunity closes on 10 November.

 

“At present, anyone can claim to be an electrician and work on an electrical installation. It cannot be right that those who have completed a full apprenticeship and who work in the industry in a safe and competent manner, can be compromised by those who call themselves electricians but who have no or inadequate qualifications.

 

“Our research suggests net benefits to Scotland from proper regulation of electricians of around £58million, including the benefits of higher electrical standards, such as fewer injuries and deaths, better functioning installations, less need for call backs or for poor/unsafe work to be repaired, leading to improved customer satisfaction.”

 

Mr Wilson said the need for qualified, professional electricians is only going to increase as the Scottish Government drives ahead with plans to decarbonise heat in buildings and the public sector estate, as well as investing in energy efficiency.

 

He added: “Our future heating and energy demands, driven by the government’s own plans to increase more renewable installations and reduce our carbon footprint, means that electricians will play an ever-increasing role in delivering on these targets.

 

“There is overwhelming evidence that the public thinks that our profession is regulated when it is not. People are genuinely very surprised when told that you need no formal qualifications to call yourself an electrician.

 

“All survey evidence points to a strong demand from the public that electricians should be qualified in the interests of consumer safety and now is the time to meet this demand.”

 

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