Bill for regulation of electrical industry laid before Scottish Parliament

Bill for regulation of electrical industry laid before Scottish Parliament

Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP outside the Scottish Parliament

SELECT is celebrating a major step forward in its fight for regulation of the electrical industry after a bill was laid before the Scottish Parliament which could lead to protection of title finally becoming a reality.

Scotland’s largest construction trade association has welcomed the Members’ Bill lodged by Conservative MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston, who has worked in the campaign to protect Scotland from poor and potentially dangerous electrical work.

If passed, it could enshrine in law the professional status of electricians, making it a statutory offence for someone to call themself an electrician when they have no, or inadequate, qualifications.

Alan Wilson, managing director of SELECT, said: “This has been a long journey which is not yet complete, but this is an extremely important step on the road towards protection of title.

“The bill will be scrutinised by legislators and other experts but, given the outstanding levels of cross-party and cross-discipline support that the campaign has already achieved, it is to be hoped that the logic of our argument will be accepted.”

The Members’ Bill will now go to a committee stage for examination then, if it proceeds, to two further amendment stages. If it is passed, it will then be sent for Royal Assent, where it will be turned into a binding Act of the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Wilson added: “More than 100 professions, including gas engineers, are protected in law – but not electricians, who carry out extremely complex work which is vital to the smooth running of our society. It is an anomaly which is ripe for rectification.”

Mr Halcro Johnston, who is MSP for the Highlands and Islands, said: “Electrical safety is vitally important. Every year, there are incidents of shocks and fires caused by electrical malfunctions. It is important that people carrying out electrical work are qualified and able to do so.”

The Bill follows a groundswell of backing for regulation, with a host of MPs, MSPs, industry and individual electricians rushing to sign SELECT’s Wall of Support, which shows the politicians, professional bodies and electricians behind the crusade.

The latest signatory was former Scottish Government Minister Fergus Ewing, who added his name beside another high-profile political supporter, SNP MP Owen Thompson.

The campaign has been spearheaded in partnership with the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB), Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust and Unite the Union.

It says that, as well as greater safety and improved consumer confidence, a cautious estimate of net financial benefits to Scotland from proper regulation of the electrical industry would be around £58 million.

Fiona Harper, the secretary of the SJIB said: “There has been widespread and supportive backing from all across the construction industry and the wider public for SELECT’s stated position that regulation of electricians is an issue of public safety and it’s clear that the profession should be protected by the full weight of the law.”

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