UNSURPRISINGLY, constituents have raised changes to the law on fire and smoke alarms with me. Most did so after being surprised by a leaflet from a company offering to install the new alarm systems, the first they had heard about the issue.

The Scottish Government brought forward the changes to the law in response to the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire in London. The new requirements were part of the understandable desire to help avoid such tragedies and received the support of Parliament. This was on the understanding that the new standards would not come into force for two years and that the changes would be widely publicised and support put in place for those on low incomes.

While the first of these provisos was followed, the others were not and the news that these changes were to be required in less than six months came as a shock. It is unacceptable that, without warning, homeowners were being asked to spend at least £220 to comply with the new law or face their home insurance being invalidated. There are also concerns around rogue traders preying on the elderly or vulnerable, while many will be worried about allowing strangers in for work during the pandemic.

I immediately raised these concerns with ministers and was pleased to receive a response stating their intention to seek a further delay until 2022. I expect that Parliament will agree to that.

But we cannot just put this off and forget about it for another year – Scottish Labour are calling on the Government to guarantee that everyone who needs the financial support to comply will be able to access it and regulate the process so that no one is left vulnerable to rogue traders. In the meantime, information and advice on fire safety in the home can be found at firescotland.gov.uk/your-safety/for-householders.aspx