Single-sex loos to be required in all new restaurants and offices under new Government plans

5 May 2024, 23:03

All new bars, restaurants and offices will be required to have single-sex lavatories, the Government has announced.
All new bars, restaurants and offices will be required to have single-sex lavatories, the Government has announced. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

All new bars, restaurants and offices will be required to have single-sex lavatories, the Government has announced.

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Building regulations will be updated by the Tory government to force new businesses to have male and female toilets after a general move towards gender-free facilities in recent years.

Read More: No gender neutral toilets in new public buildings, as minister demand separate loos for men and women

Read More: Gender-neutral toilets could lead to ‘schoolgirls getting UTIs because they don't want to share’, minister says

The law will apply to all new buildings - but existing businesses could also be snared if they complete major renovations.

Lee Rowley, housing minister, wrote in the Telegraph that he wanted to ensure that businesses adhere to "what most people thought was common sense".

He added that "single sex, toilet, providing privacy, decency, and space for both sexes" should not be abolished in favour of gender-neutral facilities.

A temporary Gender Neutral toilet sign on a Ladies  loo door at a venue in Perthshire Scotland
Building regulations will be updated by the Tory government to force new businesses to have male and female toilets after a general move towards gender-free facilities in recent years. Picture: Alamy

It is the latest Tory intervention on gender issues - as the party appears to be attempting to create a wedge between themselves and Labour.

Kemi Badenoch, women and equalities minister, told the Telegraph: These regulations will guide organisations to design, unisex and single sex toilets - ending the rise of so-called 'gender-neutral' mixed-sex toilet spaces which deny privacy and dignity to both men and women"

Ms Badenoch previously launched a ‘call for input’ on which asks people to report public bodies that fail to provide single-sex spaces.

It follows concern that publicly-owned institutions, such as the NHS, are misinterpreting guidance which states that people should not be allowed in such spaces based on their sex rather than gender identity.

Speaking to LBC’s Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, asked what the Government is looking for, Ms Badenoch said: “We are looking for examples where a public institution is either issuing guidance or has a policy that is not in accordance with the equality act when it comes to single-sex spaces.

London, UK. 13th Feb, 2024. Housing Minister Lee Rowley is being interviewed in Westminster during the morning broadcast round. Credit: Thomas Krych/Alamy Live News
Lee Rowley, housing minister, wrote in the Telegraph that he wanted to ensure that businesses adhere to "what most people thought was common sense". Picture: Alamy
London, UK. 1st May,
Kemi Badenoch, women and equalities minister, told the Telegraph: These regulations will guide organisations to design, unisex and single sex toilets - ending the rise of so-called 'gender-neutral' mixed-sex toilet spaces which deny privacy and dignity to both men and women". Picture: Alamy

She continued: “If I was to give an example as a school that had gender-neutral toilets and young girls there did not want to use the same toilets as the boys, so they weren’t going to the toilet at school, and got urinary tract infections.

“So this is obviously a terrible thing but the school thought they were following the guidance because they’d used some policy analysis that was done by an organisation that was not looking at the equality law.

“But I’m really looking at public institutions in particular. So we can’t be saying one thing while the institutions that are within our purview are doing another thing”.

The equalities minister said if they encounter such institutions, they should send an example to the Government and they “will look at it”.

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