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Council told ‘toilet access is a human right’ amid plans for Camden toilet charges

Green councillor Sian Berry. Picture: Nigel Sutton. Green councillor Sian Berry. Picture: Nigel Sutton.

Thursday, September 4, 2014
10:00 AM

Camden’s only Green Party councillor has criticised plans to introduce a charge for the use of public toilets, insisting access to a toilet is a human right.

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Highgate councillor Sian Berry said the council’s proposal to levy an entry fee on each of the borough’s public toilets was an “absolutely terrible idea when we have an ageing population”.

The proposal is part of the counci’s efforts to plug a £70million budget gap over the next three years.

Cllr Berry said: “Not being able to go to toilet is pretty much against your human rights. Putting a charge on it has to be a last resort.

“There’s always the question of asking people if they would rather spend a little more on council tax – £1 a month more – rather than 50p every time you want to go to toilet!

“I think there’s got to be a fairer way than penalising people who may have medical problems.”

Camden’s nine council-run public toilets cost £200,000 to maintain annually, the equivalent of one council library.

Camden finance chief Cllr Theo Blackwell said the council faced the choice of either introducing charges or closing public toilets altogether, in order to deal with swingeing government cuts.

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