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Adult Entertainment Working Group

The Adult Entertainment Working Group was a Scottish governmental advisory body set up within the Scottish Government by Tom McCabe MSP to investigate the legislative issues involved in a proposed lapdancing ban in Scotland. The working group, headed by Linda Costelloe Baker, consisted of academics, lawyers and politicians, and had a working period from April 2005 until April 2006. It commissioned the market research organisation Ipsos MORI to examine the public's attitudes towards adult entertainment,[1] completed site visits and took evidence from a variety of witnesses. Respondents to the group's consultation included the Church of Scotland.[2] The group reported to Ministers on 25 April 2006.



The group concluded that lap dancing venues are a form of "commercial sexual exploitation...which encompasses pornography, internet sex chat rooms, sex phone lines, escort services, prostitution, trafficking for prostitution, peep shows, lap dancing, pole dancing, table dancing and stripping".[3] It recommended reviewing the licensing of lap dancing venues and proposed national guidelines to prevent performers from touching or being touched by customers, ensuring that activities are visible at all times, and introducing a minimum age of 18 for everyone involved.[4][5]

Political oppositionEdit

A prominent voice of opposition to a lapdancing ban was exotic dancer Veronica Deneuve who set out to try to involve the stripping community in the discussion to inform such legislation.[4] The International Union of Sex Workers said that the "recommendations are flawed and would be extremely detrimental to workers and operators in the industry".[6]

Government reactionEdit

The Scottish Executive accepted a number of the recommendations, but it rejected the idea that licensing boards should be able to determine whether full nudity is appropriate in given locales. It also rejected the idea of a compulsory one-metre no-touching zone between dancer and customer, suggesting that this would be unenforceable. It did, however, propose to enable Licensing Boards to consider nude dance venues as a separate class of venue.[7]


No legislation directly followed the group's report. However, the report informed the statement of licensing policy of many licensing boards across Scotland on the introduction of the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005.[8] It also paved the way for the Scottish Parliament to introduce licensing reform of “sexual entertainment venues”[7] in the form of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015. This comes into effect in 2016 and requires local authorities in Scotland to set out individual policies with regard to the licensing of lap dancing clubs.[9][10]


  1. ^ "Public Attitudes Towards Adult Entertainment". Ipsos MORI. 1 June 2006. Retrieved 8 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Morag Mylne (28 September 2005). "Adult Entertainment Consultation: Official Response" (PDF). Church Of Scotland Church And Society Council. Retrieved 8 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Hubbard 2008, p. 26.
  4. ^ a b "Report seeks sex industry 'rules'". BBC News. 25 April 2006. Retrieved 8 March 2016. 
  5. ^ Baker 2006.
  6. ^ "Trade Union Members Reaction To Scotland's Adult Entertainment Working Group Report" (Press release). International Union of Sex Workers. 10 May 2006. Retrieved 8 March 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Hubbard 2008, p. 22.
  8. ^ Stephen McGowan (19 August 2013). "Licensed to thrill". Journal of the Law Society of Scotland. Retrieved 8 March 2016. 
  9. ^ Martin Hannan (7 August 2015). "New air weapon licensing laws to be introduced next year". The National. Retrieved 9 March 2016. New rules on the licensing of “sexual entertainment venues” such as lapdancing clubs are also introduced in the Act, with local authorities required to set out their individual policies. 
  10. ^ "Sexual entertainment venues". Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016. 

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