800 people have benefited from £500,000 fire alarm funding pot, report finds

Scottish Labour has attacked the SNP’s handling of interlinked fire alarm funding.

Smoke alarm (Aaron Chown/PA)
Smoke alarm (Aaron Chown/PA)

Just 800 people have so far benefited from a £500,000 funding pot to help pay for the installation of interlinked fire alarms, and half the money has been spent, a report has found.

From February, all homeowners will be required to have linked alarms under a law change as a result of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in 2017.

The new regulations mean every home in Scotland should have a smoke alarm fitted in the living room, in order for the property to meet “tolerable standards”, as well as in circulation spaces such as hallways and landings.

The SNP pledged funding of £500,000 to help older people, the disabled and homeowners in receipt of a range of benefits, with the installation costs.

The FOI revealed that with more than half the budget spent, slightly more than 800 households have benefited – suggesting under 2,000 will benefit overall

Scottish Labour housing spokesman Mark Griffin

Scottish Labour has hit out at what it calls “the SNP’s shambolic handling of new fire alarm regulations”, as it emerged, from a Freedom of Information request, that fewer than one in 10 of those eligible for support will be able to receive it.

A Scottish Labour spokesman said: “The FOI revealed that with more than half the budget spent, slightly more than 800 households have benefited – suggesting under 2,000 will benefit overall.

“This is in contrast to around 60,000 households being eligible for pension credit or employment support allowance.

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

The launch of the campaign to urge homeowners to install interlinked heat and smoke alarms (Scottish Government/PA)

Labour called on the SNP to make sure these costs do not hit the worst off by providing new funding in the forthcoming budget – however there is no indication this has been the case.

Scottish Labour claimed that  public awareness is virtually non-existent ahead of the laws coming into force in February.

Scottish Labour’s housing spokesman Mark Griffin 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, 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.”

The SNP has been asked to comment.

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