Mayor’s charge for Trafalgar Square public toilets “looks a lot like a money making scheme”


I recently criticised the Mayor of London Boris Johnson for his plan to introduce a 20p charge for public toilets in Trafalgar Square after it was revealed a factor in the decision was partly taken to increase takings at a café City Hall shares profits from.

The 20p charge is expected to raise around £100,000 a year to help fund the maintenance and repair costs of the toilets. The decision notice issued by the mayor states that the introduction of the 20p charge is likely to reduce the number of people using the toilets and suggests that the nearby café, which the GLA has a profit share arrangement with, may benefit from increased takings as people are more likely to try and use their toilets.

The requirement for customers at the café to make a purchase in order to use the toilets appears to be a abandonment of the principle behind the Mayor’s 2008 Community Toilet Scheme which called for London businesses to open up their toilets to the public to help ease the problems caused by the lack of public lavatories.

Whilst I don’t object to charging for public toilets if the money is used to keep them clean and safe, it’s a totally different matter if it’s being done partly to push people into spending more money at a City Hall run café.

Toilets should be a public convenience. This looks a lot like a money making scheme. It’s particularly hypocritical given that back in 2008 the Mayor called on businesses to open up their toilets to the public – this seems to be totally going against that message.

For many people, particularly the elderly and those with ill health, public toilets are a real necessity – we should be doing more to provide public toilets, not cynically trying to manoeuvre them into cafes where they’ll need to spend pounds if they want to spend a penny.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *