Public toilet numbers collapse after 15 years of SNP under-funding

By Bill Heaney

The number of public conveniences in West Dunbartonshire, South Argyll and Loch Lomondside has plummeted in recent years.

This greatly needed public service has gone down the pan under the SNP government.

Dumbarton used to have at least two public toilets in the town centre – one at Quay Street and the other in College Street (The Vennel).

Now there are none.

Scottish Liberal Democrat communities spokesperson Willie Rennie has now revealed that the number of public toilets across the country has fallen by a third since the SNP came to power, with some local authorities no longer having and toilet facilities.

In response to a freedom of information request from Scottish Liberal Democrats 19 councils were able to provide details of the number of public toilets in both 2007 and 2022.

Analysis of this data revealed that:

  • Across the councils which provided data for both 2007 and 2022, there has been a 32% decrease in the number of public toilets.
  • Three councils (Clackmannanshire, East Dunbartonshire and South Lanarkshire) had ZERO public toilets in 2022.
  • Falkirk’s numbers have dropped by 94% from 17 public toilets to 1 and South Ayrshire’s have dropped by 48%.

Mr Rennie said: “These figures show the cost to communities of a decade and a half of SNP under-funding.

“Toilets are not just about public convenience, for some the lack of accessible bathrooms can prevent them enjoying public spaces, while in other areas it has become an invitation to public urination.”

There are no public toilets in either showpiece Levengrove Park in Dumbarton or Christie Park in Alexandria and the scarcity of public toilets on Loch Lomondside shows that the National Park Authority has been caught with its pants down on this issue.

“That’s a sad state of affairs for our country to be in but it is an inevitable consequence of the decisions that successive SNP administrations have taken.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats want to see a substantial programme of capital works to provide more public toilets, alongside better car parking, electric charging points and waste disposal points.

“Beyond that there needs to finally be a commitment from the Scottish Government not to treat local authorities as simply subservient bodies which can live off the scraps of the budget.

“Councils need long term funding deals and the power to invest in their communities.”

Picture: Visitors to Loch Lomond queue for the only public convenience at Tarbet.

One comment

  1. At a time when the health service is absolutely struggling from underfunding and staff shortages, as people struggle to pay their bills, as fuel poverty bites homes across the country, Willie Rennie comes out of the shadows to do a survey across Scotland of how many councils have closed down public toilets.

    Now as an ex leader of the Liberal Democrats and ex MSP one would think Willie would have better things to do to analyse the quantity of public toilets in Scotland and how many there were since the SNP came to power in 2007.

    Political pygmies, ultra focussed issues, or the man who championed loos.

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