In a wide-ranging submission to the Smith Commission, the body set up to determine new, post-referendum powers for Scotland, SELECT argued that registration was a crucial step in terms of consumer protection.
While consumer education is devolved in Scotland, consumer protection is still reserved to Westminster – which has limited the ability to protect Scottish householders and businesses from rogue or cowboy traders.
SELECT pointed out to the Commission – which is expected to receive some 6,000 submissions following the recent deadline – that the current high standards set by trade bodies do not presently carry the readily-enforceable follow-through of legal sanction.
In effect, this means that anyone can set up in business as an electrician – and, given the sophistication and complexity of modern electrical installations, this poses a clear and present danger.
The answer, says SELECT, is that Consumer Protection should be devolved to Scotland to ensure that, where danger is present, work should only be carried out by skilled craftsmen. Customers, it argues, need the assurance that electrical work is carried out safely and to the highest standards.
David Wright, head of external affairs at SELECT, said, ‘It is absurd that, if you want to shoe a horse in Scotland, you need to be a member of the ‘reserved profession’ of Farriers but no such restriction exists for Electricians. Anybody is permitted to wire up a home made installation to the mains and send 240 volts charging around what could be a very dangerous circuit – risking fire, serious injury and death.’