Edinburgh strip club ban: Warning that banning strip clubs will drive workers into a dangerous market
Councilor Lewis Younie is calling on council officials to investigate the potential impacts of the ban on sexual entertainment venues (SEVs) in the capital on people making a living in the industry.
The Lib Dem adviser called the ‘moral panic’ of Licensing Council members who narrowly voted earlier this year to introduce a ‘zero cap’ policy on SEVs from April 2023 – which will effectively prevent the city’s four bars from operating legally and prevent new venues from opening in the future.
The United Sex Workers (USW) union claims 100 jobs will be lost as a result of the zero cap and has successfully funded £20,000 to mount a legal challenge against the council, arguing the ban is not compatible with equality law.
Councilor Younie argues the controversial move will “endanger people’s lives and encourage crime”, leading to an increase in underground brothels and unlicensed strip clubs by reducing the choices available to workers.
However, he hopes a change in the composition of the council chamber after the May election – where he won a historic third seat for the Lib Dems in the Almond Quarter – can act as a catalyst for the decision to be reconsidered and cancelled. .
He said: ‘The facts are unchanged but the balance of advisers has changed very dramatically’, adding that politics will not make anyone ‘healthier, happier or safer’.
On Thursday (August 25), he will present a motion to the full council stressing that artists would “continue to work in the industry despite the closures” and work in “totally unregulated environments”.
He will call on councilors to acknowledge this could lead to ‘a further deterioration in women’s safety’ in Edinburgh – and will also ask officials to draft a report on the potential consequences for industry players, which will be presented to members at a future meeting.
Councilor Younie said, “I wanted this decision reconsidered because of the serious deterioration in women’s safety that the Nil-Cap policy will cause.
“Fundamentally, closing these places will endanger people’s lives, encourage crime and reduce the choices available to workers.
“I am a liberal, so this issue is clear to me – empowering people to work safely is the moral decision the board needs to make.”