The Scottish Government must provide financial support for those on low incomes to help people prepare for a new fire safety law that requires all homes in Scotland to have interlinked smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.
Last week Housing Minister Kevin Stewart confirmed in a letter to MSPs that he will seek the agreement of the Scottish Parliament to delay the implementation of the legislation by a year until 2022.
The new rules were supposed to be introduced in February 2021 and are estimated would cost households between £200- £300.
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has demanded that the Scottish Government commit to helping low income families and individuals to manage the changes.
He said: “The Scottish Government agreed these laws nearly two years ago, but most people knew nothing about them until the last couple of weeks.
“The Housing Minister has now requested an extension to the deadline for when the smoke detectors and alarms must be fitted, but it is vitally important that the Scottish Government delivers a wide spread public awareness campaign and provides proper support to low income families to implement these measures.
“£200 to £300 is a lot of money and for many living on low incomes, this kind of sum would put a huge squeeze on household finances.
“The principles behind these measures, which are being introduced to save lives following the dreadful Grenfell Tower tragedy, may be sound but the way the Scottish Government has gone about communicating the changes to members of the public has been shocking.
“In the meantime, I would urge everyone who can, to try to fit new alarms that meet the rules as soon as possible and ideally not wait a year.”
Under the new rules all homes must ensure they have a ceiling-mounted smoke alarms in their living room, hallways and landings and all kitchens must have a heat alarm.
Of vital importance is the fact that the system must be interlinked, either through fixed wiring or through a wireless system, which would mean that if one alarm is activated it will trigger the other alarms.
In addition, a carbon monoxide alarm must also be fitted where there is a fuel burning appliance or a flue.