* Cleanzine_logo_3a.jpgCleanzine: your weekly cleaning and hygiene industry newsletter 30th July 2020 Issue no. 929

Your industry news - first    Number 1 for Recruitment

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I haven’t seen a copy of the New Statesman for some time so was surprised to receive a link to the esteemed publication from Gillian Kemp, leader of the Truckers Toilets UK Campaign, with a note saying it featured an article on public toilets (thank you Gillian).

‘The politics of sanitation: why we urgently need more public toilets’ makes interesting reading. “We need to talk about this unseen sanitation crisis,” argues the author, Beatrix Campbell, quoting public toilet doyenne Prof Clara Greed who reckons Britain lost 40% of its public toilets in the decade before the 2010 coalition and adding that Age UK reports that since then, English cities have lost another 20%.

Not very good for tourism, is it?

Clara describes this loss as an assault on citizens’ rights, saying they are vital to accessible, equal and sustainable cities.

“Ironically,” adds Beatrix, “the decline of public toilets has shadowed the rise of global cities and the rise of flourishing night-time economies,” eloquently pointing out that this leads to an abundance of drunk people urinating in the streets all over the ‘civilised’ world.

She reports that Peter Hampson, director of the British Resorts & Destinations Association, has told a Parliamentary committee that public toilets cost local authorities £100m per year, but earn back a meagre £4.5m in entry fees. Apparently it costs as much as to collect a 20p, cart it, count it and account for it as it does to collect it. I wonder whether anyone on the committee asked Peter about what the various councils’ felt about their moral duty to provide this essential service?

Clara, with whom I used to sit on the Council of the British Toilet Association when it launched at the beginning of this millenium, has always felt that public toilets should be seen as a benefit rather than a burden. She has a point but perhaps in more ways than she realises…

With the current government keen to get people off of benefits and back into work, just think of the number of cleaning jobs that would be created, if our closed public toilets were to be brought back into use. And just imagine the boost the supplier side of our industry would receive, as a result of the accompanying increase in demand for disposables and dispensers!

OK it might not quite balance the books, but surely it’s the right thing for local authorities to do, isn’t it? 

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Jan Hobbs

30th July 2015

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