Leaders: ‘The proposal needs a little more thought’

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At a time when cash-strapped councils up and down the UK are looking at closing public conveniences to save money, it is easy to understand the thinking behind Edinburgh’s plans for a “toilet tax”.

The 30p charge would ensure that money is spent bringing the facilities in the city centre up to scratch – and some of them are in desperate need of it.

Most people would probably agree that charging for well-maintained public toilets is better than having badly rundown ones or none at all.

And with the city’s loos needing a £600,000 investment to bring them up to scratch, that is realistically the choice that we are facing.

The charge would hit a small number of people, such as taxi drivers who work in the city centre without access to a loo, inordinately hard.

But, on balance, this is not a bad idea, if it ensures that our public conveniences are improved and properly maintained.

It also means that the cost of maintaining the facilities is being met by the people who use them, which is, in general, a fair principle.

The question remains, however, is 30p a reasonable price to pay?

On that point, we don’t agree with the city council’s plans.

It will seem to some a little steep, especially, perhaps, to a mum or dad with two children in tow.

And there is a very practical point to consider, too. Most of us would be confident of finding 20p in change in our purse or pockets, but 30p is likely to lead to lots more fumbling around or heading off to a shop looking for change.

That is the last thing that anyone wants when they are heading to the toilet.

These plans need a little more thought if they are not to prove very inconvenient to a lot of people.

Taking the lead

It is a textbook example of turning a PR nightmare to your advantage.

Big plaudits are due to the Huxley on Rutland Street for the way it has responded after a doorman wrongly refused entry to a blind man and his guide dog.

Bosses admitted it was a mistake to turn away Peter Davey and his dog, Norton, and apologised for the incident.

Many businesses would have left it at that.

For the Huxley to go further by pledging its entire Friday takings – a decent four-figure sum – to the RNIB is a fantastic gesture.

They should consider themselves well and truly out of the doghouse.