Construction trades association SELECT is hailing a new Bill which has been presented to the Scottish Parliament by Conservative Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) Jamie Halcro Johnston to regulate the use of professional titles within the electrical industry.
If successful, the Private Member’s bill will protect Scotland from poor and potentially dangerous electrical work by enshrining the professional status of electricians in law and making the use of the title, ‘Electrician’ without adequate qualifications a statutory offence.
SELECT, which has been campaigning for the introduction of the measure for several years together with other organisations, estimates the financial benefit to Scotland of a properly regulated electrical industry at around £58 million annually.
Alan Wilson, its managing director, comments: “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.
“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.”
The Private Member’s Bill will now go to the committee stage for examination and proceed through two additional stages to allow amendments to be made if it is accepted and clears a vote in the Scottish Parliament, before being sent for Royal Assent and becoming law.
Halcro Johnston, MSP for the Highlands and Islands, adds: “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 has been introduced in response to a groundswell of backing for regulation, with several MPs, MSPs, industry and individual electricians rushing to sign SELECT’s Wall of Support.
Fiona Harper, Secretary of the SJIB, adds: “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.”