In his barely veiled criticism of Police Scotland's raids on saunas in Edinburgh, Andrew Burns said he took no moral stance on the sweep that led to six premises having their licences suspended.
But the city's council leader said: "I know there has been a lot of concern on this. I do want to be clear on this: the council is not changing its policy on saunas.
"It is not going to be the best analogy. I'm not a supporter of the welfare reform changes but, as council leader, I have a responsibility to make sure I get the services into shape so they [reforms] have a minimum impact on the people.I can't spend my whole time rallying against the [welfare] reforms. The analogy is with what is happening here in Edinburgh.
"I can't talk for what has happened in terms of Police Scotland but there has been a well-documented situation of the raids of the saunas by Police Scotland."
The move to close the city's saunas appeared to be a shift from the previous so-called blind-eye approach and came two months after the formation of Scotland's new single force. Edinburgh is the only city in Scotland to grant entertainment licences for such premises.
In June about 150 police officers supported by social workers raided saunas across the city and, in a second wave over the last month, completed the sweep of all 13. Five people have been charged with alleged brothel-keeping and living off immoral earnings and others face drugs charges.
Mr Burns said the raids would lead to the closure of some or all of the six saunas that have had their licences suspended.
"We have to make sure we are ready to help in the likely loss of the sauna licences," he said.
Measures in place in preparation for sauna closures relate to existing social work, addiction and homelessness projects which, it has been claimed, do not address the rights of sex workers adequately. Some councils claim the benefits and welfare overhaul will lead to cuts in other services. But Mr Burns said new applications to open more saunas were expected.
He said: "We will deal with any such application as before and I am sure that it is going to happen. I am absolutely sure that we will get more applications.
"I am not making any moral judgment [on the police action]. I have to make sure we have services to cope with what is happening in the city."
He said it could be argued that better inspection of the premises by the council's own officers might have prevented the latest move. Police Scotland declined to comment.
This week, female sex workers in Edinburgh criticised police on the raids, claiming tactics used by officers left them feeling degraded. In reply, police said those in the premises were treated with sensitivity and compassion.