SEV licensing is now a step closer

Councils will have the power to regulate lapdance clubs

Councils will be able to establish their own licensing regimes for clubs.
Councils will be able to establish their own licensing regimes for clubs.

INCREASED regulation of Scotland’s lapdance clubs moved a step closer after a Holyrood consultation on the subject came to a close.

Under the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 councils will have the ability to create their own licensing systems for sexual entertainment venues (SEVs). They can also opt to set the number of SEVs in their area at zero.

The Scottish Government consulted on guidance to councils at the beginning of the year, with the consultation closing in February.

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Shortly afterwards East Lothian Council announced that it will not be issuing any SEV licences in its area.

A spokeswoman said: “East Lothian Council decided to make the resolution on the basis that East Lothian has never had a sexual entertainment venue or received an application for one and that it was unlikely to in the future.”

There are thought to be only 12 businesses across Scotland classed as sexual entertainment venues, in council areas including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen City.

A spokesman for Aberdeen City Council said a report on SEVs would be submitted to its licensing committee in April, with both Glasgow and Edinburgh opting to wait until the SEV provisions in the Act come into force before they take a position.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “The Scottish Government will lay a commencement order in due course outlining when the relevant provisions will come into force, and we will make local authorities aware what further steps are required.”

However, licensing lawyer Janet Hood said new SEV licensing is “a waste of money for a political headline”.

“This is quite a piece of legislation for 12 venues,” said Hood. “Quite a cost to the public purse, quite a cost to local authorities.

“One wonders why this is happening when there have been no incidents of human trafficking, no links with prostitution, no links with abuse of women.”