Election hopefuls from Scotland’s main political parties told a special digital hustings that regulation of the construction industry is essential for a safer and more productive future.
Five candidates—Carole Ford, Scottish Liberal Democrats; Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour; Laura Moodie, Scottish Greens; Alexander Stewart, Scottish Conservative and Unionist; and Kevin Stewart, SNP—agreed that regulation was essential for the future of the construction industry.
Kevin Stewart said: “It should be the aim of all of us to drive up standards and safety and build trust in people doing day to day work. Why is a security guard a regulated professional when a plumber is not? We need to have real debate about the regulatory issues, and a consensus about moving forward on regulation. The Grenfell Inquiry highlights the need to have occupations regulated to keep people safe and give public confidence in construction work.”
Ms Ford agreed, saying: “Professional regulation’s primary purpose is to protect the public, maintain high standards and protect qualifications and standards in the sector. The cowboys are doing no favours to those who are properly qualified, so we are totally committed to all measures which would support consumers and protect standards and professional qualifications, and totally in support of having a well-regulated, well respected construction industry which has the confidence of the public.”
Also in favour of regulation was Ms Lennon, who said: “It is important that qualified tradespeople are recognised for their experience and their competence, meaning the public will have confidence in who is coming into their homes or workplace. It makes sense to give people confidence in their work and that they will work safely and have pride in what they do, so we fully support measures to improve regulation and improve public safety.”
The importance of skills, training and apprenticeships in the sector was another topic on which all panellists were in full agreement.
Alexander Stewart said: “Economic growth is the cornerstone for this recovery, and construction plays a vital role in that. Skills and training apprenticeships are vitally important and we fundamentally believe that there should be more funding put into it. We want to bring people back and get more new people into the industry and ensure that women have more opportunity to become more involved. We also want economic growth, which will only come about through investment in training and support mechanisms.”
Ms Lennon concurred: “Jobs are at the top and at the heart of our manifesto and our vision for the next five years is a roadmap to recovery that focuses on skills – up-skilling, re-skilling and how we can support local government to take on apprentices and use a talented workforce in Scotland to retro-fit homes to tackle fuel poverty and create new jobs in construction and manufacturing.”
This post has originally been featured in Property Wire.