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Lib Dems call for ‘public toilet fund’ as numbers ‘drop by 14% in five years’

The Lib Dems are rallying for the establishment of a dedicated “public toilet fund” in the wake of a decline in the number of public toilet facilities across England.

Freedom of information requests by the party show the number of public toilets has fallen from 531 to 459 in 45 councils since 2018/2019, meaning there has been a 14% drop in five years.

The Liberal Democrats said a quarter (24%) of councils cited costs as at least part of the reason they had to shut their facilities while a fifth (20%) mentioned anti-social behaviour, arson, threats to staff or vandalism as at least part of the reason.

Calling for the Government to set up a “public toilet fund”, Liberal Democrat local government spokesperson Helen Morgan said: “This is yet another example of our local communities up and down the country being abandoned by this Conservative Government.

“People deserve these basic facilities and yet they are being let down.

“Ministers have, for years, savagely cut local authority budgets and now we are seeing the erosion of local facilities like public toilets.

“We need real and targeted funding to ensure local people are getting the fair deal that they deserve.”

A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesperson said: “We expect councils to provide public toilets for their communities – they are best placed to decide where they are needed.

“We recently announced up to £30.5 million funding to local authorities in England to boost the number of larger accessible toilets.

“Changing places toilets are a vital facility for people who cannot use standard accessible toilets and for their family and carers. That’s why they will be installed in existing buildings and we have made it compulsory for new public buildings to have them.

“Keeping neighbourhoods safe is an absolute priority which is why the government has introduced the anti-social behaviour action plan backed by £160 million of funding.”