The results of the Holyrood Election are now in. The SNP will form the next Scottish Government, winning 64 of the 129 seats available. The Scottish Conservatives have secured 31 seats, Scottish Labour 22, Scottish Greens eight and Scottish Liberal Democrats four.
Over the next few weeks, Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) will be officially sworn in, new Ministers will be appointed and parliamentary committees will be set up. As the sixth session of the Scottish Parliament gets underway, the fact remains that electricity is still the number one cause of house fires in Scotland each year. These account for nearly three quarters of all incidents and have devastating effects for people and communities in every constituency and region. On this basis, we will seek to work with MSPs to help keep their constituents safe from the dangers posed by electricity.
Much progress was made during the last parliamentary session, with the introduction of significant protections for tenants living in the rented sectors, new consumer safeguards around product recalls, a focus on improving awareness of registered electricians, and a national campaign on the importance of white goods safety. However, there is still more we can do by working together.
We have a number of key policy priorities to protect people and property from electrical risk. Central to these is a call for a common housing standard for electrical safety. Despite electricity being the primary cause of Scotland’s domestic fires, housing legislation and standards are subject to a ‘tenure lottery’ with different levels of safeguards for different tenures. A common standard, regardless of tenure, means everyone would have equal protection from electrical risk.
Safeguards against dangerous, substandard, and counterfeit electrical products – particularly those available online – is another issue we want to see addressed, along with the development of simple, straightforward routes for consumers to find registered electricians.
There must also be a clear focus on the many future challenges for electrical safety, from the mainstreaming of electric vehicles to the decarbonisation of heat. The huge increase in electrical appliances, such as electric boilers and heat pumps, together with a shortage of trained installers and a lack of familiarity with electrical heating, will also have an impact on electrical safety.
As you can see, not a short set of challenges, which is why we’re committed to working closely with all MSPs to make our increasingly electric world safer for everyone.
More posts by Wayne MacKay