South Yorkshire MP backs demands for mandatory smoke alarms

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A South Yorkshire MP is backing calls for smoke alarms to be mandatory in privately rented homes.

John Healey, Wentworth & Dearne MP and former housing minister, sponsored a 10-minute rule Bill by Labour’s former fire minister Nick Raynsford MP in Parliament.

He said one in five private rented properties does not have a smoke alarm – more than 4,500 households or 10,000 people in Rotherham and Barnsley.

Mr Healey said: “Private rented homes are more likely to be without a smoke alarm than social or owned houses.

“Without a smoke alarm, you are four times more likely to die in a fire. It’s a matter of life and death.

“It’s a simple, life-saving measure but the Government are saying updating the regulations to make this law would be a ‘regulatory burden’ – even though fitting a smoke alarm with a 10 year battery only costs about £15.”

Mr Healey said the Energy Act 2013 contained a clause making it possible for ministers to make the measure law but the Secretary of State must ‘lay an order’ to bring in the power, which Labour wants done by January 2015.