New Bill to ensure public toilets used by cabbies receive 100% rate reduction to help keep them open
Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government), Lord Greenhalgh, has stressed the importance of ensuring eligible public lavatories receive a 100% reduction in business rates to help keep them open for use.
Lord Greenhalgh has asked to look at the ‘Non-Domestic Rating (Public Lavatories) Bill' again, pointing out the need for future rates bills to reflect the “exceptional impact of the pandemic on the commercial property market” and the importance of public lavatories for “essential workers” such as taxi and delivery drivers.
The latest Bill would ensure that eligible public lavatories receive not only a reduction, but a 100% reduction on their business rates.
Lord Greenhalgh said during a parliamentary discussion: “It will cut the operating costs of public lavatories, particularly in cases where rates bills are a significant proportion of their running costs, and help to keep these important facilities open. The relief will apply to eligible public lavatories run by the private and public sectors, including those operated by parish councils.
“Even now, when we are minimising the use of our public spaces and of public transport, the availability of appropriate toilet facilities to those essential workers who continue to keep our country running, such as taxi and delivery drivers, is of particular importance.
“Given how vital these facilities are, it is understandable that there has been public concern around the potential reduction in the number of available lavatories. I know that the sentiments of these concerns have previously been reflected in the contributions of many noble Lords in this House. Removing the business rates on public lavatories will make it easier for them to remain open.“
Taxi drivers have continued working throughout the pandemic, offering their services to those who have been unable to work from home and especially key-workers. During this period, when so many businesses have been forced to close, access to toilet facilities, which has always been a struggle at the best of times for some taxi drivers, has dwindled.
The new re-evaluated Bill would at the very least take “a load” off the mind of some cabbies who currently have no other options but to remain in the saddle for long working hours in a bid to stay afloat.