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Fri April 16 2021

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Scottish electricians set out legislation wish list

11 Mar Electrical trade association Select has issued a manifesto setting out changes it wants the next Scottish Parliament to introduce.

The manifesto – ‘Creating a Brighter Future’ has been issued by Scotland’s largest construction trade association, which represents more than 1,250 businesses across the electro-technical industry.

Select is asking the next parliament to introduce:

  • protection of title to stamp out unqualified electrical workers;
  • laws to make it illegal to carry out electrical work when unqualified;
  • procurement based on quality, not best bids;
  • timely payment and no retentions;
  • recognition of the sector’s role in delivering a sustainable future.

Along with a focus on regulation and renewables, the manifesto also emphasises the role that electrical professionals will have in delivering the next Scottish government’s plans for reduced energy use, decarbonisation, climate change and other policy objectives.

Alan Wilson, managing director of Select, said: “As our ‘wish list’ for the next Scottish government, this manifesto reflects real needs, not aspirations, when it comes to the future of our industry, our economy and our country.

“Ongoing feedback shows that the sector wants, needs and demands the changes we are seeking, so we are merely reflecting the opinions of a significant workforce which contributes so much to Scotland’s economy.”

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He added: “We have made great progress in the outgoing parliament on the issue of protection of title and professional recognition, and it is of the utmost importance that our regulation campaign comes to fruition in the next parliament.

“The pivotal role we will play in the roll-out of renewable energy must also be addressed, and our political representatives must recognise how vital it is not only to train and upskill the existing workforce but to make sure new entrants are similarly skilled. These skills will be crucial to the nation achieving its zero-carbon goals.”

The manifesto – which will be distributed to candidates ahead of May’s parliamentary elections – also criticises the existing procurement model used by most of Scotland’s public sector. It says that the model is fatally flawed and that it is skewed towards bids based on always accepting the lowest price rather than favouring a more balanced price and quality approach. 

Wilson said: “Select favours a whole-life cost bias to construction projects which places the emphasis on getting decisions right at the design and procurement stage to dramatically reduce whole-life performance costs, benefitting everyone.

“Tied into a better procurement model, it’s crucial that all businesses are paid in full and on time and we must end the iniquitous practice of retentions, which divert monies away from improvements to the industry.”

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