The Scottish Government ran a consultation from 1st November 2017 to 7th of February 2018 asking for opinions on allowing councils to adopt a licensing regime for lap dancing venues in their area. This seems to be based on the licensing regime
already in place in England and Wales.
The Government received 31 responses which it has just published. The Government will now consider these before publishing sits final guidance on the subject.
Lap dancing clubs could be banished from council areas across Scotland under new plans being pushed forward by ministers. A new licensing regime would hand local authorities greater powers to ban or restrict the number of sexual entertainment
venues in their area.
But of course this is not enough for some strident feminist groups that have called for politicians to go further and implement an outright ban across Scotland. Violence Against Women Partnerships (VAWP) insisted the Scottish Government should
work with councils to outlaw lap-dancing clubs.
Cosla, which represents local government and lobbies on its behalf, responded to a consultation on the proposalssaying it was very difficult to see how a commitment to eradicating violence against women and girls could sit alongside the licensing
of sexual entertainment venues.
But venue operators said it was unfair and untrue to imply that lap-dancing is a form of violence against women. Brightcrew, operators of Platinum Lace in Glasgow , argued its performers are all strong, independent, talented women who choose
to work in sexual entertainment. It added:
It is a well-remunerated occupation. It is a form of performance. It provides great flexibility in terms of hours and days of work, meaning that performers can work when they like, ensuring that they can find a balance between their work and
other demands on their time, be it family, other work or studies.
The Scottish Government said it would consider the consultation responses before bringing in new rules. A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: Licensing of sexual entertainment venues does not seek to ban lap dancing or strip clubs but to allow
local licensing authorities to decide what is right for their area. The Scottish Government accepts the freedom of adults to engage in legal activities and employment.
Researchers from the University of Kent and Middlesex University have said that Soho is under threat from gentrification and corporatisation that threatens to rob it of what makes it so special.
Their study explains how the area is being sanitised with the number of licensed sex shops in the area declining from more than 50 to just 12. These are slowly being concentrated in just a small area and almost all such venues in Soho are now
located within a small half-a-mile block.
The process of gentrification in this area has further marginalised already vulnerable groups (including homeless populations and sex workers) and the sanitisation of the area means that many populations who have lived and worked in this area for
generations will no longer be able to part of the Soho community.