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Lack of Public Toilets Devastating Lives

Lack of Public Toilets Devastating Lives

Help the Aged responded to the release of 'Improving Public Access to Better Quality Toilets', a strategic guide from the department of Communities and local government.

Pamela Holmes, Head of Healthy Ageing at Help the Aged said: 'This report is good as far as it goes - outlining what councils can do to improve access using their current powers. But actions speak louder than words. Over the past decade, more than 40 per cent of all public toilets have closed, as local councils have increasingly decided that the cost of provision was too great. This policy decision has had a devastating impact on the lives of older people across the UK. '
‘Research for Help the Aged has shown that more than half of older people find that a lack of public toilets prevents them from going out as often as they like. The effect of this is to keep many older people on a "bladder leash" - with shrinking social involvement and increased isolation an inevitable and dangerous effect.’

'The Government must ensure councils are aware of the crucial role public toilets play in the fight against loneliness in their local communities. Widespread adoption of the measures proposed in this guide would go some way to preventing public toilets becoming a thing of the past - but to really prevent them becoming extinct, we need to see more than encouragement on the Government's part.

'It's vital that the Government commit to a "watching brief" on the provision of public toilets - monitoring where and why they are closing. 'Ministers must also look seriously at making provision of public toilets a mandatory, not discretionary responsibility of local authorities. In this way, tightening budgets would not mean an automatic end to public toilets. Failure to stop this trend in its tracks means consigning thousand of older people to lives of isolation.'; Source: Help the Aged

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