MSP calls for Scottish Government to clamp down on unqualified electricians

A law must be introduced to clamp down on unqualified people calling themselves electricians, according to an MSP.

Over 100 professions are currently protected in law, but not electricians
Over 100 professions are currently protected in law, but not electricians

Tory Jamie Halcro Johnston described the lack of regulation in the profession as an “anomaly” and has urged the Scottish Government to take action to ensure the title of electrician is protected in law.

Over 100 professions are currently protected in law, including registered gas engineers, but not electricians.

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Mr Halcro Johnston said that he will introduce a members’ bill to the Scottish Parliament aiming to address the issue.

In a debate on the subject in October, MSPs from across the parties at Holyrood gave their support for providing protection of title.

Mr Halcro Johnston said: “For too long, the Scottish Government has dithered around the regulation of electricians.

“It has been discussed and discussed again, without any real commitments ever seeing the light of day.

“When I speak to people about this campaign, the first reaction is usually surprise that anyone can call themselves an electrician without any qualification.

“When so many other trades and professions are regulated, it seems the position of electricians is more of an anomaly than anything else.

“Most people don’t consult electricians on a regular basis and aren’t always confident about the qualifications of people they employ. This should provide some additional protection to consumers.

“Electrical safety is vitally important. Every year, there are fatalities caused by electric shocks and fires caused by electrical malfunctions. It is important that people carrying out electrical work are qualified and able to do so.

“I was pleased to get so much support from across the political parties when this was debated back in October and I would hope that support would carry across to introducing a Bill on the subject.”

Electricians’ industry body Select has been leading the push for “Protection of Title” for the profession along with organisations like Unite the Union. This already applies to many sectors such as accountants.

Select Acting Managing Director Alan Wilson, said: “Electricity is vital to every aspect of modern life and it’s frightening to think of the number of unqualified people out there who are carrying out potentially dangerous work on a daily basis”.

He added “This is a most welcome step and encourages us in our long-running campaign to make it illegal for anyone who is unqualified to call themselves an electrician in Scotland. Over 100 professions are currently protected in law, including gas engineers, but not electricians. Jamie Halcro Johnston is leading the way in highlighting the serious dangers that unqualified and poor-quality electrical work can create.”

A recent report indicated that the “human cost” of faulty electrical work is around £120m per year. Regulation is viewed as offering an opportunity to grow the industry by attracting more aspirational entrants, where reward and reputation is enhanced, and the value of an electrical apprenticeship is more widely accepted.