Less than one in ten will receive support to meet new fire alarm regulations

South Scotland list MSP Colin Smyth has slammed the Scottish Government’s ‘shambolic’ handling of new fire alarm regulations, as it emerges less than one in 10 of those eligible for support will be able to receive it.

The new legislation comes into force in February
The new legislation comes into force in February

Legislation brought forward after the Grenfell Tower tragedy means homeowners have to install interlinked heat and smoke alarms.

Private rented and new-build homes must already meet these standards, but from February they will apply to every home in Scotland.

The new regulations will require pricey installations – but so far just £500,000 has been made available to help meet those costs.

The Scottish Government claimed this funding would help “older and disabled homeowners with installation”, but information obtained by FOI revealed with more than half the budget spent, just over 800 households have benefited.

In the south of Scotland, Eildon Housing Association in the Borders received £5,000; Loreburn in Dumfries and Galloway received £20,000; and Shire in East Ayrshire received £30,000.

This is in contrast to around 60,000 households in Scotland being eligible for Pension Credit or Employment Support Allowance.

Even applying the Scottish Government’s stringent eligibility criteria, estimates suggest 35,000 people would be eligible – meaning well under one in 10 of those eligible will get help.

Mr Smyth said: “This pitiful offering from the Scottish Government completely shortchanges homeowners.

"Local councils are being left to come up with funding in many areas to make up for the Scottish Government’s penny pinching.

“The poorest households who don’t get any help will be hit hardest by this shambles, but people across our region are going to be blindsided by laws they didn’t even know existed.

"There have also been issues about the supply of certain alarms running short.

“The Scottish Government are presiding over sheer chaos, burying their heads in the sand about the mountain we have to climb to deliver these changes.

“We need an urgent awareness campaign, much clearer advice, and proper support to stop the poorest households being hammered by extortionate costs.”