The battle to overturn Edinburgh’s ban on strip clubs has reached the courts, with a judge set to decide if the nil-cap policy is legal.
A union representing exotic dancers and the clubs set to be banned made their cases against the City of Edinburgh Council’s vote earlier this year to set the maximum number of sexual entertainment venues at zero.
Aidan O’Neill KC made the case against the policy on behalf of the city’s strip clubs to Lord Richardson, while David Welsh argued on behalf of the United Sex Workers union (USW) against the cap.
Mr Welsh told the hearing that the policy would impede their human rights, and that affidavits from dancers in the city told how the ban would see them struggle to pay their rents, push them into debt, and break up with their partners because they have to move city to work.
Of the nil-cap policy, he said: “If you want to stay in Edinburgh, you have to do another job.
“If you want to do the the job you have chosen to do, and works for your lifestyle and circumstances, you have to work somewhere else.”
Both Mr O’Neill, representing clubs including Burke and Hare and Diamond Dolls, and Mr Welsh highlighted previous cases as part of their arguments against the policy.
The two-day hearing continues on Friday, when Christine O’Neill is expected to put the arguments of the capital’s city council to the court.
Earlier this year, USW raised money to fund the judicial review against the decision of councillors in March.
The decision, made by the city’s regulatory committee on March 31, was a knife-edge five to four vote in favour of setting the cap at zero.
Councillors had the option of setting the cap at four, keeping all the clubs open, but this was rejected.