More than £10m cut from public toilet budgets

Determined not to spend a penny more than they need, councils have slashed funding for public conveniences.

In just two years some £10.4 million has been cut from spending on public conveniences in Britain, posing a potential risk to public health.

Research by Unison found that councils across England are spending 13% less on maintaining and repairing conveniences compared to the 2010/11 financial year. With some councils now spending more than £250,000 less on public WCs and the biggest cuts in London and the North West.

"This is not just about revellers, and those who have had too much Christmas spirit, there's a serious public health concern that needs to be addressed. For thousands of people suffering from long-term or chronic illness, waiting until you get home is simply not an option,” said Heather Wakefield, national officer of Unison.

"Environmental health cuts are posing a significant risk to the public's health. Savings need to be made, but they must not be made at the cost of people's health, public sanitation and basic human need.

"We have come a long way from the Victorian sewer-streets, awash with human waste. It should be the measure of civilised society whether people can go to the toilet when they need to, without having to pay.”

It’s a position the Government agrees with.

Local government minister Brandon Lewis said: "There are many savings council can make such as merging back office functions, sharing services, cutting frivolous expenses and removing taxpayers' money from funding trade union posts, before they consider closing important public conveniences."