HL Deb 22 July 2002 vol 638 cc17-8WA
Lord Ezra

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made in developing the quality mark scheme designed to eliminate "cowboy" builders in the domestic home improvement sector. [HL5051]

Lord Sainsbury of Turville

My honourable friend the Minister for Construction and Energy and I announced that, following the evaluation of quality mark pilots in Birmingham and Somerset, the scheme would be rolled out across the country over a three to four-year period. A Quality Mark Shadow Ownership Group has been set up to drive the scheme forward and is developing a comprehensive roll out strategy and detailed business plan.

The first recruitment event took place on 26 June in Oxfordshire. The event was well attended and the DTI expects to see good take-up from Oxfordshire firms in the weeks and months to come. There will be a series of similar recruitment events in urban areas around the country to get contractors on board.

The DTI continues to work with a number of reputable trade bodies to fast-track members into the quality mark scheme. Following recommendations in the pilot review, the scheme is subsidising registration costs for a limited period with the object of achieving a critical mass.

The DTI is also working with local authorities, financial services groups, consumer groups and others to promote the scheme to tradesmen and encourage the participation of the latter wherever possible.

The scheme is already being marketed successfully to consumers in Birmingham and Somerset through a variety of media, including Yellow Pages and a number of local papers and radio stations. Further targeted marketing will follow in new areas, once sufficient numbers of builders and tradesmen are registered.