THE SNP Government has ruled out a further delay in requiring homeowners to install new fire safety standards in less than two weeks’ time despite calls from opposition MSPs for another reprieve.

From February 1, homeowners will need to have installed interlinked fire alarms in homes to comply with the regulations, with costs likely to start at £220.

The Scottish Government delayed the roll out last year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, but has confirmed there will not be any further delay.

SNP Housing Secretary Shona Robison told MSPs that “having considered the balance of risks, I’m clear that it’s not right to delay the legislation that is designed to protect and save lives”.

Ms Robison said that nobody will be penalised for being unable to install the correct system by February 1.

She also insisted that following discussions with the insurance sector, it is “not likely” that policies would become invalidated for not complying with the new law.

She added: “Ensuring people are safe from risk of fire in their homes is a key priority for the Scottish Government.

“These improved standards will reduce the risk of injury and death in house fires.”

Addressing MSPs in Holyrood, Ms Robison said that “there are no penalties for non-compliance”, adding that “no-one will be penalised if they need more time”.

But she stressed that he would “strongly encourage all homeowners to make these changes and benefit from improved protection against loss of life and property in the event of a fire”.

Pointing to concerns about a failure to comply could invalidate home insurance policies, Ms Robison told MSPs that “this is not the case”.

She added: “ We've engaged proactively with the Association of British Insurers throughout the legislative process, and they have ensured their members were aware of the changes and have stated that while insurers may ask customers questions about whether the property is fitted with working fire alarms, they 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 should speak to their insurer.”

Scottish Conservative housing spokesperson, Miles Briggs, claimed the statement will “be of concern to many householders across Scotland”, given no changes are being made.

He added: “These regulations were postponed a year ago and I think that was a welcome step forward, given the fact that we saw the outcome of Covid-19 on homeowners – especially elderly and vulnerable homeowners not wanting workmen coming into their homes and I think that was a proper step forward.

“But can I ask the Cabinet Secretary why in this case, given that the actual Covid restrictions are not going to be lifted until Monday, why she hasn't heard that call again?”

Ms Robison said that “the important thing here is to get on with supporting and encouraging homeowners to put in these devices which potentially could save lives”.

Scottish Labour’s housing spokesperson Mark Griffin, said: “This statement was a chance to shed some much needed light on this mess – but the SNP have no answers to even the most basic questions.

“This was supposed to be a chance to improve safety in our homes, but the SNP have let it descend into chaos. Their stubborn refusal to delay is completely inexplicable.

“There are still serious questions over whether insurance policies could be voided, and the Cabinet Secretary did nothing to convince us that the supply shortages have been dealt with.”

He added: “People up and down the country are worried about being in breach of the law, because they can’t afford an alarm or can’t find an alarm, and some still don’t even know they need a new alarm.

“If they insist on forging ahead with these changes and hit households with hefty bills in the middle of a cost of living crisis, they must iron out these problems and do more to help the poorest households meet the costs.”