West Dunbartonshire Council is the third most expensive for community alarm charges, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

Residents were charged £260 in 2019/20 to have community alarms in their homes.

West Dunbartonshire’s community alarm charge was first introduced in 2014/15 with an annual charge of £122. It is now £260 a year.

MSP Jackie Baillie has hit out at the discrepancy in charges, but the council claims the figures can’t be compared as they are for “non-comparable” services.

Ms Baillie said: “It is outrageous that West Dunbartonshire is amongst the highest charging local authorities in Scotland for community alarms. It is even harder to stomach when you consider that it has some of the most deprived communities in Scotland.

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“Both councils are charging elderly and vulnerable residents, on low and fixed incomes, unmanageable costs to have alarms in their homes. These alarms are a vital addition to many homes across my constituency and there have been hundreds of cancellations from local people who feel they simply can no longer afford to pay the charge. The scale of the increase in charges in SNP controlled West Dunbartonshire is completely unacceptable.

“They will have some serious questions to answer when avoidable accidents start to happen due to people no longer being able to afford alarms.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “It would be misleading to say West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership is amongst the highest in Scotland, as the figures quoted are not comparable. The WDHSCP monthly charge incorporates a 24-hour response service; emergency personal care and additional sensors including smoke; heat and flood detectors whereas other authorities charge separately for each of these services.”

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