ANOTHER half a million pounds has now been set aside to help elderly and disabled people install new must-have fire alarms, following pressure from a Fife MSP.

Labour's Alex Rowley voiced his concerns over issues in the rollout of new fire alarm requirements that came into effect today (February 1) following the news that Fife Care and Repair had run out of funding.

In a motion raised in the Scottish Parliament last week, Mr Rowley wrote of the “unnecessary levels of worry caused by the new fire alarm requirements,” particularly among elderly constituents.

Under new legislation, homeowners are required to install interlinked fire and smoke alarms with the Scottish Government estimating the cost for appropriate coverage of a three-bedroom house at £220.

Fife Council’s Care and Repair Service has already ran out of funding of £16,000 for 87 households, with further requests for funding being put on hold despite demands for support for constituents.

Meanwhile, alarms under the government funded scheme are sold out with the approved supplier amassing a backlog of over 5000 alarms.

On Sunday, the Scottish Government confirmed that an additional £500,000 had been made in funding - doubling the funding already given to Care and Repair Scotland to help older and disabled people to install the alarms.

Mr Rowley told the Times: "The funding is welcome but it's clear that whole system is challenged.

"What share Fife will be sent of that money I do not know but what I do know is my office is inundated with people, and particularly older people, who are really concerned.

"They can not really get the help they need and it's not just about the money, they can't get hold of any alarms."

The Scottish Government told homeowners recently that they will not be penalised if they haven’t had the alarms installed in time but are encouraged to do so.

The Association of British Insurers has confirmed that its members are aware of the new regulations coming into force and are "unlikely" to invalidate a home insurance claim for existing customers who haven’t yet complied with the new law in Scotland.

Mr Rowley continued: "The Government has not categorically been able to say that it will not impact insurance, and that is causing a lot of uncertainly and worry.

"A woman told our office that she was trying to speak to the Care and Repair Service to get some help and even when contacting suppliers, they have massive waiting lists and are booked up for months.

"It's not acceptable they way that the Government has introduced this - it's chaotic.

"I've written to Housing Secretary Shona Robinson about the grief that they are causing but I've had no reply.

"I find it astonishing that the Scottish Government would press ahead with these changes despite the obvious issues with provision across the country."

Housing Secretary Shona Robison said: “We’re introducing these new standards because interlinked fire alarms will save more lives.

"One death from fire is one too many, but tragically last year alone 44 people died in house fires in Scotland.

"We would encourage all homeowners to install the alarms as soon as they are able – long life battery-powered interlinked alarms are as easy to install as traditional standalone ones.

“We know that some homeowners may not be able to meet the cost of fitting the necessary alarms so had already provided £500,000 funding through Care and Repair Scotland to help elderly and disabled people.

"We don’t want funding to be a barrier to this important work, which is why we’re now doubling this funding, taking our total support to help people install these alarms to £2 million.

"We are in discussions with Care and Repair to ensure support continues up to and beyond the 1 February deadline, so that elderly and disabled people can make this fire safety improvement.”