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World Toilet Day – what the end of ‘toilet tax’ might mean for disabled facilities

Monday the 19th of November marks a day that at first glance might seem a little bit odd, World Toilet Day. However, when you think about the importance of sanitation and toilet facilities around the world, it’s actually surprising that it’s not a conversation we have more often.

Although not directly related, this year it coincides with some related news that business rates are to be cut for public toilets. This is potentially great news for a number of reasons, chief amongst which is that it could save local councils up to £2 million per year. Money that can be reinvested in providing more public toilet facilities and upgrading existing ones, hopefully, to be more usable by the disabled community.

We’ve spoken before about how toilet facilities simply don’t cater for those who have a stoma and even disabled toilets often lack the basics required to change your bag in a clean and easy way. Basic requirements, such as a hook on the door to hang clothes and a raised surface to organise supplies are sadly missing from facilities all over the country. We would hope that part of the £2 million saved might go towards furnishing public toilets with these simple provisions.

It’s been estimated that a huge 40% of public toilets have disappeared over the past decade and many have fallen into disrepair as they have ceased to be maintained by local councils. Of course, this has an impact on the wider community, especially those whose disability requires them access to a toilet. The new business rates cut will hopefully go a long way to reopening many public toilets and potentially the opening of some brand new ones.

It’s a significant step and one that we sincerely hope to see a huge difference from in the coming years. After all, everyone should have access to a clean, private and safe place to change their bag, no matter where they are.

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