“The British Toilet Association and the Local Government Association are right to point out budgetary pressures facing councils and innovative solutions as playing their part in helping halt the rapid rate of decline of public toilet provision (Cafes urged to let people use the loo without spending a penny, 8 August). But while the “Use Our Loos” campaign is admirable, what is urgently required is action by the government to exempt parish and town councils from paying business rates on the toilets they run and stop even more from closure. Parish and town councils are already saving our loos by taking them on from cash-strapped principal authorities. But at a price, with their small share of council tax increasing to cover costs which include business rates of around £16m levied on important and valued facilities which have an economic development as well as public health benefit.
Campaigning by NALC led to the government recognising this dilemma but so far it has failed to bring forward measures to help. What is now needed is renewed action to support communities by exempting local councils from paying business rates on their toilets and stopping more from being closed.
Cllr Sue Baxter
Chairman, National Association of Local Councils”