Making people pay to pee is a shocking toilet tax Sunderland City Council are right to dump

As revenue ‘streams’ go, charging to use public toilets in the city was never going to go down well.

Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:32 pm
Public toilet sign

We know times are hard, but charging people to pay to pee was a step too far.

The public are being squeezed enough by austerity. To have their own council effectively introduce a toilet tax would have been beyond the pale.

But as a barometer of just how much the squeeze is affecting our council chiefs, it’s an accurate one.

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Times are desperate.

Our council has been hit harder than most by budget cuts wrought by a Tory government obsessed with austerity. Just how hard our community has been hit was revealed by the recent Centre for Cities economic think tank report.

The report says Sunderland has been 17th hardest hit out of 62 cities nationwide, with total spending on day-to-day services such as social care, transport, street cleaning and museums down by a fifth - the equivalent of a £93million reduction, or £342 for every resident in the city.

Is it any wonder the council is scrabbling about looking for ways to recoup some cash.

What is heartening to see is that the council has asked for the public’s view, listened to their response and acted in their interests.

The toilet tax has been flushed down the pan.

Cabinet Secretary Councillor Paul Stewart said: “In light of the concerns expressed both through the budget consultation and further comments about the possibility of introducing public toilet charges, this proposal has now been dropped.”

Instead, we are set to see the city boosted by a £300,000 ‘deep clean’ and even more cash for events. That's the kind of splash we want to see.

We may not be flush, but the pennies must being spent in better places.