Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has slammed the Scottish Government’s ‘shambolic’ handling of new fire alarm regulations, as it emerges less than 1 in 10 of those eligible for support across Scotland will be able to receive it.

New regulations requiring interlinked fire alarms will force thousands of households to cough up for pricey installations – but so far the SNP have offered just £500,000 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 that with more than half the budget spent, just over 800 households have benefited – suggesting under 2,000 will benefit overall.

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 SNP’s stringent eligibility criteria, estimates suggest 35,000 people would be eligible – meaning well under 1 in 10 of those eligible will get help.

Colin Smyth said: “This pitiful offering from the SNP completely shortchanges homeowners. Local councils are being left to come up with funding in many areas to make up for the SNP Governments 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 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.”

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