I heard an item on Radio 4 Today programme about the poor provision of public lavatories by local councils as detailed in a report by the Communities and Local select committee . A publican in Richmond was interviewed (at 7.44 if you want to listen again) "Communities Toilet Scheme" said 70 pubs in the area were each paid £600 by Lib Dem controlled Richmond Council to allow the public to use the lavatories without paying for a drink.
Cllr Martin Elegorn, the Lib Dems Cabinet Member for Environment said:
"We were down to 12 conventional loos. Difficult to maintain,graffiti, anti social behaviour with a big backlog of structural work needed. We took the line that we should try another approach. We will be covering far longer hours than we did before. Safe, clean warm a much better bet than the previous set up."
It sounds like a very sensible form of privatisation. Especially as these days children are generally allowed into pubs. But the select committee’s report to "impose a duty" on local councils to provide public lavatories is misguided. It should be a choice for elected councillors to decide if they want to put up Council Tax, or cut spending elsewhere, in order to make it a priority.