Cessation of insulation works and ongoing redundancy process at Tighean Innse Gall

Tighean Innse Gall’s management committee have held further discussions to take into account recent talks with the Scottish Government around insulation services. As directors of TIG the Community Benefit Society we remain agreed that, in light of the irretrievable damage already done to the supply chain coupled with continuing uncertainty around project delivery, the only competent route forward is to regrettably continue the redundancy consultation process.

Key problems remain unresolved due to the length of time between raising our concerns over a year ago about the lack of rural proofing within the PAS2035/2030 retrofit standards and seeing any attempt at movement by government. This has devastated TIG’s capacity to deliver in the islands, resulted in zero installs under the new standards from July 2021 and seriously undermined the local supply chain from then until now. Availability of PAS training providers for Internal Wall & Room in Roof Insulation measures is still very poor.  Even after 9 months from the standards coming into effect there is virtually no readily available routes for rural contractors to train– just as TIG predicted – and thus our supply chain simply couldn’t access, never mind complete, any courses. In addition, there is a lack of funding for small rural contractors to participate, further choking the capacity of our community’s supply chain to deliver from the outset.

Even the belated movement by the Scottish Government in relation to ventilation standards whereby island options (divergent from the new standards it must be noted) could be trialled, comes too late to effect any meaningful change. The lack of training certification prevents the PAS accrediting bodies from issuing their certification to TIG, the lack of a ‘compliant’ ventilation option prevents the issuing of guarantees which in turn prevents Trustmark accreditation for works. Thus whilst proposed as a temporary work around it doesn’t address the significant and costly barriers of the pre installation processes (such as high rates of job attrition), yet passes risk to TIG.

With such uncertainty the existential threat to TIG cannot be overstated nor ignored by us as directors. The prospect of witnessing the consequent closure of the insulation section, just as we are about to face the biggest explosion in fuel poverty in our community ever seen, is therefore tragic.

Worse still, if the UK and Scottish governments rightly decide to massively ramp up insulation and energy efficiency to tackle the cost of living crisis, it remains to be seen if anything substantive will be done in the area of the country which needs it most, at the time most necessary.

Brian Chaplin, chair of TIG management committee said:

“The ongoing threat to jobs has not receded. Every day passed without an island proofing response since these standards were introduced saw the government effectively push us into an impossible position with unbearable risk. The consequence is that we have no alternative but to continue consultations on redundancy. It’s not a position we ever wanted to be in but we are forced by the situation – made by others – not taking into account island community need. We therefore have to do this now in order to preserve and protect the other services which TIG delivers. Sadly, the options have just come too late. I do ask myself though, why adopt such a standard if it needs divergence from the beginning and why cripple a supply chain by imposing an unrealistic transition period”.