Friday, 11 September 2015

Scott Mann's dodgy toilet complaint

North Cornwall's Conservative MP Scott Mann has asked the Prime Minister to intervene to force Cornwall Council to abandon a policy of seeking to devolve public toilet provision. The trouble is that he forgets that his own party, when in power, did exactly the same thing.

According to the BBC:
Mr Mann said their closure would "bring disastrous consequences upon the county" and this was a "fundamental public health issue".
Cornwall Council, in the face of a government requirement to make £196m of savings over four years, is seeking to find commercial, community or local town and parish council partners to take on public toilets. The rights and wrongs of the policy are a matter for legitimate debate.

But what seems to have been ignored by Mr Mann is that when the Conservatives ran the council from 2009-2013, they did exactly the same thing. They listed a large number of public toilets and told local councils that if they did not take them on then they would be closed. Some town councils - like Launceston - took on the service. Others did not and the toilets were closed.

If Mr Mann is successful and the remaining toilets are kept open at Cornwall Council expense then it will be unfair on the people of towns like Launceston who are currently paying through their council tax both for the town's toilets and for those elsewhere in Cornwall. Ending this double taxation is one of the aims of the current policy which Mr Mann objects to.


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