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 Lap Dancing Licensing in Scotland

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 Scotland legislation to restrict lap dancing
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16th April
2010
  

Amendment 516...

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Scottish amendment to restrict both lap dancing clubs and private sex with one's own partner

The Scottish ParliamentOn 13 April 2010, the Justice Committee from the Scottish Parliament decided to issue a call for evidence for amendment 516 [pdf] which equates lap dancing licensing with that of sex shops.

The amendment was put forward by Sandra White MSP (SNP) for Glasgow. The amendment is one of several hundred put forward to the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill , which also contains the extreme pornography law and amendment relating to the criminalising the purchasing of sexual services.

Amendment 516 changes the 1982 Civic Government (Scotland) Act   of control of sex shops. The original act states that local authorities can decide how many sex shops can be in their authority and that the potential sex shops must advertise their intention to apply for a license. The effect that this has had is that some local authorities rejecting all applications for a sex shop license. In Glasgow, for example, the guidance notes for sex shop applications reads:

Be advised that, in the past, applications for a sex shop licence have been refused on the grounds that the committee felt that the number of sex shops for the locality (ie. Glasgow) should be nil.

It's also worth noting that the licence costs £12,000+.

Glasgow in particular has had a long history of making life difficult for adult entertainment venues and it should come of no surprise that Sandra White had spoken out against lap dancing clubs in the past . Opponents of lap dancing issued a £7000 report by Julie Bindel in 2004 to prove lap dancing was bad. But in the past, Glasgow's prejudices did not seem to affect other cities, such as Edinburgh. This new amendment will drag all of Scotland into Glasgow's sex-negative way of life .

What is most disturbing about the lap dancing amendment is that, like so many other laws, it is so poorly written that it could potentially extend beyond its original intent. Sandra White and Glasgow Council are quite obviously dead against adult entertainment venues. But this law could potentially call your own bedroom an adult entertainment venue!

In the amendment, an adult entertainment venue is defined as any premises, vehicle, vessel or stall used for a business with an audience of one or more that any live performance or display of nudity (which includes breasts on a woman or pubic area on either sex) that is provided solely or principally for the purpose of sexually stimulating any member of the audience . Where this gets tricky is the little bits of (whether by verbal or other means) and ignoring financial gain.

Women taking their clothes off and dancing in an erotic way in front of a paying audience of men is the target. Ideally, I should be able to put on a strip show for my partner in the comfort of my own home. But is this allowed here? I'm not doing it for money, but we are ignoring financial gain . I'm only doing it for my partner, but audience includes an audience of one . I'm doing it in my own home, but the location is any premises. In other words, every time I expose my breasts to my partner, I would be committing a crime under this law. Even worse, I can't even verbally describe an erotic fantasy or read a published (and wholly legal) erotic story to my partner because it would count as a live performance of the verbal kind that is sexually stimulating.

Another bit of brilliant legislation from the Scottish Government in an effort to stop people from enjoying sex.

This news has been brought to you by CAAN Scotland.

 

4th May
2010
  

Update: Amendment 516...

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Restricting lap dancing in Scotland

The Scottish ParliamentOn 13 April 2010, the Justice Committee from the Scottish Parliament decided to issue a call for evidence for amendment 516 [pdf] which equates lap dancing licensing with that of sex shops.

The amendment was put forward by Sandra White MSP (SNP) for Glasgow.

Amendment 516 changes the 1982 Civic Government (Scotland) Act   of control of sex shops. The original act states that local authorities can decide how many sex shops can be in their authority and that the potential sex shops must advertise their intention to apply for a license. The effect that this has had is that some local authorities rejecting all applications for a sex shop license. In Glasgow, for example, the guidance notes for sex shop applications reads:

Be advised that, in the past, applications for a sex shop licence have been refused on the grounds that the committee felt that the number of sex shops for the locality (ie. Glasgow) should be nil.

It's also worth noting that the licence costs £12,000+.

The Scottish Parliament's justice committee will consider the plan this week.

Glasgow Council's Community and Safety Services arm has urged MSPs to accept White's amendment, saying lap-dancing was a form of violence against women . The letter said: Intelligence would suggest that these venues are in fact linked to, and part of, the sex industry and selling of sexual services does occur in some clubs. The council said the current licensing regime was ineffective , and added local authorities must have the option to refuse to license such establishments .

The bid is reported to have backing from Scottish Women's Aid, the Scottish Coalition Ag-ainst Sexual Exploitation, and Scottish Women's Convention.

Councillor Jim Coleman, acting head of the council, said: We view lap-dancing as a form of sexual exploitation which degrades women and also contributes to public nuisance problems.

 

12th May
2010
  

Update: Snobs...

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Elitists complain about bans on naked 'art' but are hardly supportive of ordinary guys enjoying adult entertainment

nude balletSome of the country's most celebrated arts bodies have welcomed clarification to new laws designed to crack down on lap-dancing clubs which would have inadvertently prevented them from staging shows featuring nudity.

Nationalist MSP Sandra White has put forward an amendment to the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill going through Holyrood which would allow local authorities and licensing boards to ban lap-dancing venues in their area.

But organisations such as Scottish Ballet and the Festival Fringe Society had warned that under plans to tighten licensing rules, renowned shows featuring nudity, such as Nic Green's Trilogy , could have been pulled.

Cindy Sughrue, Scottish Ballet's chief executive, had urged the committee to carefully consider the wording of White's amendment, given the potential unintended consequences for theatre companies, who would be unable to show iconic works by world-renowned directors and choreographers.

She said: Nudity, as defined, would rule out presentations of some of the most powerful performance work of the 20th and 21st centuries, including numerous acclaimed productions created and presented in Scotland, including at the Edinburgh International festival.

At a meeting of the Scottish Parliament's injustice committee, politicians echoed such concerns. Robert Brown, Scottish Liberal Democrats justice spokesman, said: For theatrical performances, I'm not sure it presents as clear exemptions as one would hope.

Bill Aitken, his Tory counterpart and the committee's convener, agreed. I do have serious reservations and I don't think the issue of theatrical performances has been satisfactorily resolved.

Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill told the committee that while communities should be allowed to refuse permission to license the clubs, the government had significant concerns over Ms White's amendment. He said: There are drafting difficulties with the amendment which will have to be addressed.

Ms White accepted an offer of assistance to clarify her amendment, meaning the government will now draft a tighter licensing regime which will come before MSPs when the bill is considered by the full parliament at its final stage.

 

2nd July
2010
  

Update: But No White Flag Yet...

Parliamentary bid to restrict Scottish lap dancing fails

sandra whiteThe proposed crackdown on lap dancing venues has been thrown out by MSPs despite winning the support of the government.

SNP backbencher Sandra White wanted to give local authorities the power to introduce a special licensing system which would allow them to ban strip clubs.

Injustice Secretary Kenny MacAskill gave his backing to the move, but Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Tories opposed it and the proposal was defeated by 76-45.

The decision was welcomed today by campaigners against the crackdown.

But Labour said it now plans to take its own look at the issue and bring forward proposals if the party returns to power at next year's elections.

Liberal Democrat Robert Brown said Ms White's proposal would introduce a dual licensing system, where venues needed a separate licence in addition to their liquor licence. He said there was no real evidence of a problem with the current powers.

Tory John Lamont said he had met a politics student who worked as a lap dancer in order to help her pay for university. He said: She was, quite frankly, insulted by the claims that lap dancers were either prostitutes being exploited or their work was demeaning.

Sarah Vernon, a former dancer who has just completed a PhD in striptease and strip club culture in Scotland, welcomed Ms White's defeat.  Vernon, who spent seven years carrying out field work as a participant-observer in two Edinburgh clubs as part of her research, had warned curbs on adult entertainment would hit Scottish tourism. She said: The parliament has made the right decision, particularly at this time for Scotland's economy. It shows Scotland is a tolerant and progressive country and does take account of the views of the nation and not just special interests.

 

1st September
2012

 Update: Morally Banned...

Sandra White launches another bid to allow Scottish councils to ban lap dancing

sandra white 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.

 

28th June
2013

 Updated: PC Loudmouths to be Given more Say in Banning Table Dancing...

Scottish Government launches another consultation on restricting adult entertainment

No Fun: The Scottish Government logoSome members of the public will be given a greater say on whether table-dancing clubs are given licences under new plans unveiled by the Scottish Government.

Ministers will consult on proposals to establishnew licensing restrictions for sexual entertainment venues. The Government said the consultation also seeks specific views on whether licensing authorities should be able to totally ban such venues.

The Government is launching the consultation after similar plans were rejected in the last Parliament.

The move has the support of MSPs and gender extremists. The Women's Support Project in Glasgow said:

This move recognises that what is for sale on premises is sexual arousal and such premises should have their own specific license and no longer fall in the same category as leisure or entertainment venues.

This move also provides better consistency with the overall approach in Scotland which sees lap dancing as a form of exploitation and helps support a culture in which women are viewed in narrow and objectifying ways.

'Justice' Secretary Kenny MacAskill claimed:

This consultation seeks views on proposals that will give licensing authorities the powers to reflect local views and control the presence and operation of such venues in their areas.

These venues undoubtedly divide opinion. However, the proposed licensing regime is about ensuring the safety and protection of customers and workers while making sure the interests of local communities are protected.

The newspaper chose not to include opinions from the venues, employees or customers.

Update: Consultation Details

28th June 2013. See Consultation Details from scotland.gov.uk . Thanks to Allan

The Scottish Government have launched a consultation on the introduction of sexual entertainment licensing.

If enacted the legislation would effectively allow councils to close down strip clubs, under the guise of protecting people.

Consultation on Regulation of Sexual Entertainment Venues

A consulation on proposals to establish a dedicated licensing system for venues offering sexual entertainments such as lap dancing. A robust licensing system will allow local communities a greater say over the nature of actvities that take place in their localities.

Consultation on Regulation of Sexual Entertainment Venues [pdf]

Consultation Responses Form [doc]

 

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