Scotland

Public to have say on Aberdeen, Inverness and Fife lap dancing bars

Lap dancing sign
Image caption Nine councils who have no "sexual entertainment venues" are also considering a public consultation, or they have already launched one

Five of the six Scottish councils which currently have lap dancing bars in their areas are holding consultations on their future or they are planning to, BBC Scotland can reveal.

Glasgow and Edinburgh already have consultations, while Aberdeen, Fife and Highland councils intend to hold them.

Dundee City Council said they had made "no decision" on the issue yet.

The Scottish government brought in legislation which allows councils to limit the number of sex venues.

This includes setting a zero limit if they wish.

The public consultation in Glasgow, which was launched at the end of May, has prompted the city's lap dancers to campaign against what they believe is a threat against their jobs.

They have joined the GMB union and campaign under the banner #Askthe700 - the number of lap dancers the union estimates work in Scotland.

Glasgow City Council insists no decision has been made, and encourages everyone - including the dancers and the union - to get involved with its consultation.

Last week, it was revealed Edinburgh has also launched a public consultation.

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Media captionLap dancers in Glasgow have joined the GMB union after the launch of the public consultation there.

Now Aberdeen, Highland and Fife councils have all committed to holding discussions on the issue, following the change in legislation from the Scottish government.

An Aberdeen City Council spokesman said: "Aberdeen City Council will be conducting a relevant consultation, the format of which has yet to be determined. A report will be submitted to Aberdeen City Council's licensing committee in due course."

A spokeswoman from Highland Council said: "The Highland Council has not to date taken any action in relation to the licensing of sexual entertainment venues. This is something that will be looked at this year with the intention to launch a similar consultation [to Glasgow's]."

Meanwhile, a spokeswoman at Fife Council said the local authority will carry out a consultation later this year.

'Misogynistic attitudes'

The councils are considering what to do about the "sexual entertainment venues" in their areas, notably lap dancing bars. However, the term is not just limited to those bars. It could be a pub or club that hosts a party night with sexual entertainment more than four times within a year.

Nine other local authorities which currently have no lap dancing bars have either launched a public consultation already or they are considering some sort of debate on the issue.

Renfrewshire and North Ayrshire have launched public consultations, while Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dumfries and Galloway, East Lothian, Perth and Kinross, the Scottish Borders, and South Ayrshire told BBC Scotland that the issue is under consideration.

Last year, several groups campaigning for action to combat violence against women called on the Scottish government to make strip clubs illegal as they "normalise…misogynistic attitudes".

The government's own strategy includes "lap dancing" in its definition of violence against women.

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