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Volume 652: debated on Monday 14 January 2019


Monday 14 January 2019


Housing, Communities and Local Government

Changing Places Toilets

The petition of residents of Falkirk Constituency,

Declares that the petitioners believe that over a quarter of a million people with profound and multiple learning disabilities, as well as other disabilities that severely limit mobility, cannot use standard accessible toilets and need personal assistance to use the toilet or change continence pads; further that their needs can only be met by Changing Places toilets with adequate space and equipment, such as hoists; further that the need for these facilities is growing with the number of people with complex disabilities and increased life expectancy; further that ‘British Standard 8300:2009 Design’ of buildings and their approaches to meet the needs of disabled people recommends that Changing Places toilets should be provided in larger public buildings and complexes; and further that the current lack of Changing Places toilets is leading to thousands of disabled people experiencing a risk to injury and lack of dignity as families are forced to risk their own health and safety by changing their loved one on a toilet floor.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to proactively promote the installation of Changing Places toilets in all large public places, including Government buildings; and further to amend existing equality legislation to specifically require that Changing Places toilets should be provided in addition to standard accessible toilets in venues such as city centres, shopping centres, arts venues, hospitals, transport hubs like train stations, airports and motorway service stations, leisure complexes, sporting stadiums and arenas, in order to enable all disabled people to go out, go to the shops, attend hospital appointments, enjoy community life and travel with the same dignity as everyone else.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by John Mc Nally, Official Report, 3 July 2018; Vol. 644, c. 294.]


Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (Rishi Sunak):

The Government recognise that providing Changing Places toilets is important and gives severely disabled people and their families the opportunity to visit public places which they otherwise would not be able to and can therefore make a huge difference to their quality of life.

We have been committed to promoting accessibility and the Government have been urging relevant building owners to consider installing Changing Places toilets, where they can. This is why we have worked with the Changing Places campaign to increase the number of facilities. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, with contributions from devolved governments, provided £70,000 to develop an online map that helps carers and disabled people find Changing Places toilets. There are now over 1,200 Changing Places toilets across the UK, up from just 140 in 2007.

Although the increase in numbers and action by forward looking building owners is to be welcomed, provision is haphazard, so we need to go further. We therefore announced our intention to consult in December 2018 on how we can increase provision of Changing Places toilet facilities in specific new, large buildings commonly used by the public, including a potential change to building regulations.