West Lothian residents left out of pocket by smoke alarms

A postcode lottery will see vulnerable West Lothian households up to £220 out of pocket as they miss out on essential funding for new smoke alarms.

By Kevin Quinn
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 12:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th February 2022, 12:24 pm
The new rules came into effect on February 1.
The new rules came into effect on February 1.

New legislation which came into force at the beginning of the month, makes it law for all households in Scotland to have interlinked smoke alarms installed.

The Scottish Government estimate the average three-bedroom house will cost around £220 to fit out.

The Scottish Government has provided funding to help those who are the most vulnerable through the Care and Repair Service. Unfortunately, for West Lothian residents, there is no such service.

Foysol Choudhury, Labout MSP for Lothian Region.

Foysol Choudhury List MSP for Lothian (Lab), said: “I’ve spoken to West Lothian council who have confirmed that despite this problem, the Scottish Government have made it clear there would be no other funding to support the local authority in the roll out. Instead, West Lothian Council is having to dig deep and fund what it can through its “Feeling the Pinch Fund”.

“West Lothian, like every local authority, has been under great financial pressure in recent years, which is only set to continue with the latest funding settlement from the Scottish Government. Will they be forced to choose between funding fire alarms or local services?

“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service funding, while welcome, is so conditional that only the most high-risk group can access it. We need the Scottish Government to look again to see how they can get funding out to these other vulnerable groups in West Lothian who seem to have been forgotten about.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The Scottish Government has provided £1 million funding to Care and Repair Scotland to help disabled and older people install the alarms, and another £1 million to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to install alarms in homes identified as being at highest risk.

“Where a local Care and Repair service is not available, some arrangements have been put in place for support to be provided by a neighbouring area that does. Residents in those areas without a local Care and Repair service may be able to approach the local authority itself who have broad discretionary powers to offer assistance, which is subject to available local resources and priorities.”