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Edinburgh councillors vote to ban lap dancing clubs Published Date: 01/04/2022

Edinburgh's councillors have voted to ban lap dancing clubs in the Scottish capital.

The BBC reported that the city's regulatory committee voted to ban sexual entertainment clubs in the city from April next year by a majority of five to four.

Two proposals were put forward - limiting the number of clubs to four, the current number in Edinburgh, or zero, an effective ban.

Councillor Cameron Rose said it was proportionate to set the limit at zero.

Mr Rose told the committee the Scottish government's policy of preventing violence against women and girls gave a national definition which included commercial sexual exploitation, defined as lap and pole-dancing as well as stripping.

"It's inconceivable to me to profess support for this policy and hold it compatible with having whatever number of sexual entertainment venues," he said.

"The clear balance comes down on the legitimate interest of women and society generally over the arguments that we have heard today from a group of women who will be economically affected in all sorts of ways, and I accept that, who are involved in what has been described as commercial exploitation."

A union representing lap dancers said it would take the council to court.

United Voices of the World, a union representing exotic performers, said it would go to court in a bid to overturn the decision, and said it would request a judicial review.

Danielle Worden, legal case worker for the union, said: "The union is extremely disappointed that the council has chosen to disregard its legal obligations and the relevant evidence by adopting a policy that discriminates against women.

"Not only does this violate the Equality Act 2010, it is an act of cruelty to remove the livelihoods of hundreds of workers as we enter the worst economic crisis since the 1970s."

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesman said the ban would come into force on 1 April next year.

"It's important to note that SEVs (sexual entertainment venues) can still apply for a licence and committee would consider them against the policy agreed today," the spokesman said.

The Scottish government brought in laws which allow councils to limit the number of lap dancing venues in 2019.