COUNCILS should be allowed to tax tourists to fund public toilets, Scottish Labour says, amid warnings that these vital facilities are being flushed into the sewer of history.
Disability Equality Scotland said thousands of disabled people were being denied the “basic human right” to pee. The charity kicked up a stink after a BBC investigation revealed that 161 public lavs had been closed north of the border since 2010.
Scottish Labour communities spokeswoman Monica Lennon panned the Tory and SNP governments, blaming their cuts to council budgets for the shitstorm.
“It is always the most vulnerable who pay the price of austerity,” she said.
“Scottish Labour is calling on SNP ministers to abandon cuts and to use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to fund our councils properly.
“Councils, for example, want the ability to introduce a local tourist tax in their areas to help pay for community amenities like public toilets and the Scottish government should stop preventing them from doing so.”
Bleach manufacturer Domestos is funding the Use Our Loos campaign with the British Toilet Association, encouraging shops and cafes to open their WCs. Though such a move could relieve the strain on dwindling toilet provision, there are concerns that it will simply paper over the cracks.
Disability Equality Scotland chief executive Morven Brooks said: “Being able to use a toilet is a basic human right.
“However, every day thousands of disabled people across the country are denied that right due to the worrying decline in public toilets and the lack of suitable facilities therein for disabled people.
“A lack of public toilets can also be a health risk, leading to social isolation as it could prevent disabled people from leaving their homes, feeling humiliated, and worried about how they would cope without suitable public toilet facilities being available.
She said failing to provide toilets could bring organisations into conflict with equality legislation requiring them to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. And she urged an expansion of accessible toilet facilities.
Conrad Landin is the Morning Star’s Scotland Editor.
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