Former cabinet minister enters Hove by-election fray with plea to keep toilets open

Posted On 11 Dec 2011 at 8:16 pm

A former Labour cabinet minister is due to visit Hove tomorrow morning (Monday 12 December) to support the party’s campaign to keep open public toilets threatened by budget cuts.

Hilary Benn, now the Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, will also lend his support to the party’s candidate in the Westbourne by-election.

The local Labour Party is starting a “Leave Our Loos Alone” campaign, saying that the Greens intend to cut £163,000 from this area in the budget.

Labour says that this will affect seafront toilets and others in parks such as St Ann’s Well Gardens, Queen’s Park, Hove Park and Saunders Park.

Councillor Gill Mitchell, who leads the Labour group on Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “Toilets are a basic public service and are essential for parents of young children, older people and people with medical conditions such as diabetes.

“I’m pledging today that the Labour and Co-operative Group will vote to stop any toilets in Brighton and Hove closing when the Greens bring their budget of cuts to council.”

Nigel Jenner, the Labour candidate in the Westbourne by-election, said: “Decent loos are vital for mums in our local parks, shops and businesses in Portland Road and tourists on Hove seafront.

“I’m glad Labour councillors are opposing the Greens’ toilet closures and I will too if I’m elected on December 22.”

He urged people to support the party’s campaign by signing the petition against toilet closures here or here.

On Friday Councillor Jason Kitcat, the Greens’ cabinet member for finance, said that some public toilets would be open for fewer hours.

He said that many public toilets were near each other and the aim was to co-ordinate the opening times to maintain the optimum availability while saving money.

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