A new attempt to allow Scottish councils to ban lap dancing clubs on moral grounds is to be launched.
Sandra White of the SNP previously made an attempt to shut down the clubs supported by her party’s then minority administration, but was defeated by 76 votes to 45. This time, the SNP has an overall majority and their plans to give councils the powers to refuse adult entertainment licences would almost certainly go ahead.
‘Justice’ Secretary Kenny MacAskill has already met Ms White to give her new proposals his blessing.
At the moment, lap dancing clubs need only a public entertainment licence. The new move would create an adult entertainment licence to be issued by councils and it would be up to them to set how many establishments would be acceptable, and that could be none at all.
White, the MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, claims that lap dancing exploits women and has links to prostitution. The MSP said:
I feel so strongly about this and that is why I am going down this route. It would give councillors the choice to say if one lap dancing club is too many. Under this legislation, they would be able to decide that and not risk being taken to court by lap dancing club owners. It would not be mandatory and the decision would lie with each local authority.
Scottish Tory chief whip John Lamont said the party would not be backing the latest plans and added:
Many of us took jobs in bars or shops to help pay our way through university, or other points in our lives. To shut the door on those who wish to work in such establishments is wrong. People may well have moral objections to their existence, but no one is forcing them to go inside, or even to walk past them.
It is important that the SNP is not allowed to erode freedom of choice as yet another value they want to abolish from Scottish society.
The best way forward is to ensure tight regulation is in place so no one is being exploited and everything taking place is legal.