Labour MSP Neil Bibby has called for a delay to the implementation of new fire alarm laws two weeks before they are due to come into force.
All Scottish homes will need to have interlinked fire alarms in two weeks time, from 1st February. The legislation has been introduced by the Scottish Government in response to the Grenfell Tower fire in London in 2017, and it applies to all Scottish homes.
However, Labour claim the new laws have been beset by problems, including a severe lack of public awareness, concerns over affordability, and a shortage of the necessary equipment.
The new laws were postponed from last year due to the pandemic, but the party claim little has been done over the last year to raise awareness or help households meet the new standards.
As a result, it is reported that hundreds of thousands of households still fall short of these standards – prompting concerns that their insurance policies will be voided when the new laws come into place.
Bibby says the Scottish Government must stop ignoring the issue and delay the implementation of the new laws. He has also called on ministers to come before Parliament to answer questions from MSPs.
West Scotland MSP Neil Bibby said: “The Scottish Government need to deal with this fiasco.
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“We are now just two weeks away from these rules hitting homeowners, potentially making their home insurance worthless.
“It beggars belief that ministers are still refusing to consider a delay, despite mounting chaos around the new rules.
“Most homeowners don’t even know these laws exist, and those who do are being hit by supply shortages and hefty bills. No adjustment to the deadline has been made in the face of the Omicron wave.
“The Scottish Government cannot keep ignoring the mess they have made of this policy.
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They should delay implementation. I have written to the minister calling for an urgent statement to Parliament this week so we can get the answers homeowners need.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “This legislation was introduced to protect lives and property following the tragic Grenfell fire, ensuring that owner-occupied and social rented homes meet exactly the same standards already in place in new build properties and the private rental sector.
“We have engaged throughout the legislative process with the Association of British Insurers who advise member firms are aware of the upcoming changes to fire alarms legislation from February 2022 and have indicated that insurers may ask a customer questions about whether the property is fitted with working fire alarms, but are not likely to ask questions about specific standards.
“Anyone who is unclear on their policy terms and conditions in relation to the new law in Scotland should speak to their insurer.”