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All I want for Christmas is…

Being asked what I’d like for Christmas is quite an invitation.

Depending on how you look at it, there are endless personal, organisational, industry or even world-changing choices, but for the moment, I’ll stick to organisation and industry wants.

From a SELECT perspective, there is no question that some of my ‘wants’ will be spun into the industry when (and not if) they happen. So, if the jolly, red suited, hirsute and rotund person asked to see my list, and assuming my name was not on the naughty list, I would ask for:

The regulation of electricians in Scotland. Like an orange, or indeed a Terry’s chocolate orange, this is a perennial request. What could be more warming than toasting your chestnuts in front of an electric fire on Christmas Eve knowing that everyone tucked up in their beds was sleeping in the sure knowledge that any electrical work that had been carried out in their homes had been completed by a qualified and competent electrician? No more nightmares before (or after) Christmas about your home being safe!

On that note, it’s great to see that nearly 50 of our own Scottish politicians agree with our view that our sector should be regulated and have backed our Wall of Support. We now look forward to the day when a bill is passed in Holyrood. “It’s great to see that nearly 50 of our own Scottish politicians agree with our view that our sector should be regulated”

Getting paid on time! Heaven forfend that anyone should actually pay you on time. SELECT Members often find themselves on the long list of those asking to get paid and it’s not because they are on the naughty list. It’s a sad state of affairs that when a business tells you that it has been paid in full and on time you think: “That’s a Christmas miracle.”

Clients, domestic and commercial alike, along with our usual panto villains (insert your least favourite main contractor’s name here), seem to find more excuses than ever to avoid paying. I know that there are good payers out there, I just wish there were more!

On a serious note I was really shocked to read the results of the impact of late payment on the mental health of a number of our Members. We are working on some real ways in which we can help and plan to launch these in the New Year.

In the meantime, if you are feeling the stresses and strains, especially at this time of year, please do speak to someone; it really can make such a difference.

It’s my money not yours. Hands up those who think that retention is a good idea? Well, I guess you can see why it was introduced, but sadly it’s not worked well for many, many years and it needs to be fixed. The Scottish Government has just issued a formal consultation about this issue, thanks to lobbying by SELECT and other bodies, and this will be a chance to make some real changes. After all, that retention money belongs to you, the contractor, not the client and certainly not the main contractor. Please take the chance to take part in the review.

So there we have it. Not a long list, I am not greedy and all are achievable. I haven’t asked for anything fantastical, like Hearts winning the league, so let’s see if we can deliver by this time next year and make everyone’s lives just a little bit better.

In the meantime, I wish all the readers of CABLEtalk a peaceful and merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2020.

Alan Wilson Managing Director, SELECT

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