Looming laws demanding homes install linked smoke and fire alarms were branded a shambles by Scottish Labour yesterday.
The party said Scots are about to be “blindsided” by laws they know nothing about and that financial support meant to help vulnerable Scots is “pitiful.”
It called for a campaign to raise awareness, clear advice and proper support before the law changes in February when homes will be expected to have interlinked alarms under legislation brought in after the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017.
Labour’s housing spokesperson Mark Griffin said only 800 people have had money from a £500,000 fund set up to help older people and the disabled in receipt of benefits with the installation costs. He said £261,000 has been spent so far and warned only 2,000 people will be helped by the support, compared to 60,000 households eligible for Pension Credit or Employment Support Allowance.
He said: “This pitiful offering from the SNP completely shortchanges homeowners.
“The poorest households will be hit hardest by this shambles, but people across Scotland are going to be blindsided by laws they didn’t even know existed.
“The SNP are presiding over sheer chaos.
“We need an urgent awareness campaign, much clearer advice, and proper support to stop the poorest households being hammered by extortionate costs.”
An average three-bedroom house needs three smoke alarms, one heat alarm and one carbon monoxide detector. The alarms alone cost more than £200 but installation will cost far more. Homeowners risk invalidating their house insurance by not installing the alarms.
The Scottish Government said on top of the £500,000 to help disabled and older people, it had provided £1 million for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to install alarms in owner-occupied homes identified as being at highest risk. It has also made over £15 million of loan funding available for social landlords.
A spokesperson said: “These important new regulations were introduced to protect lives and property following the tragic Grenfell fire. Homeowners are generally responsible for paying for works to protect their property, but we know some may not be able to meet the cost of fitting these alarms.
“That is why we are providing £500,000 to help disabled and older people, on top of the £1m we have already provided to the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service to install alarms in owner-occupied homes identified as being at highest risk.
“The legislation provides flexibility for work to be completed within a reasonable period, taking into account individual circumstances.”
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