As the Scottish Parliamentary elections looms, the Scotland and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation (SNIPEF) has issued a Manifesto detailing the steps the incoming government needs to take to help create a profitable and sustainable construction industry.

The comprehensive document, which supports the governmental will to move swiftly towards serious carbon reduction, is aimed at alerting legislators to the necessity of recognising the issues on which the Federation has been consistently campaigning.

It also points out the importance of the role that the plumbing and heating industry will have in the journey to net zero, since its operatives have the theoretical and practical skillsets to provide heat decarbonisation services.

The influential trade body, which represents more than 700 businesses and more than 5,000 plumbing and heating operatives in Scotland and Northern Ireland, is highlighting four key areas in its Manifesto, in each of which it details necessary measures. They are:

  • Net Zero. Upskilling support; professional recognition; demand stimulus; incentivisation of consumers; retrofitting of energy efficiency measures; future work guarantees; and VAT rebates for home repairs and energy efficiency measures.
  • Employment. Diversity and inclusivity; increased funding for apprenticeships; employment incentives for employers; upskilling support; apprenticeship loans; and the introduction of a mental health mentor for the construction industry.
  • Fair Work. Legislation for project bank accounts; public sector contract 30-day payment terms; adoption of the Conflict Avoidance Pledge; protection of cash retentions; and procurement on Whole Life basis, rather than lowest cost.
  • Protection of Title. Consultation on professional recognition; establishment of a Working Group on ensuring the safety of plumbing work.

Fiona Hodgson, Chief Executive of SNIPEFsaid: “We believe this Manifesto to be critical to building a resilient and sustainable construction landscape in which plumbing and heating firms can develop, compete and thrive.

“As a Federation, we wholeheartedly support the political will for a move to rapid decarbonisation, and it is of the utmost importance that recognition is given to the vital role that the plumbing and heating sector has in this transition.

“Our member firms have played a huge part over the course of the pandemic by continuing to carry out essential work, but many have faced financial difficulties through limiting activities and keeping their workforces and the public safe.

“Adoption of these action points is not only desirable, but could be crucial in ensuring that the plumbing and heating sector will be able to meet the demands that will be made of it as we progress towards a zero-carbon future.”