LAP-DANCING clubs could be banished from council areas across Scotland under new plans being pushed forward by ministers.

A new licensing regime would hand local authorities greater control over the number of sexual entertainment venues operating in their boundaries.

But women’s groups have called for politicians to go further and implement an outright ban across Scotland such as that introduced in Iceland in 2010.

Cosla, which represents local government and lobbies on its behalf, backed giving councils “the ability to control the number and location of such venues in their areas”.

Responding to a consultation on the proposals, it said it was “very difficult to see how a commitment to eradicating violence against women and girls could sit alongside the licensing of sexual entertainment venues”.

It said current Government guidance “does not recognise that working in the sexual entertainment industry is for most people not about choice, but about exploitation, and one in which women are disproportionately represented”.

Violence Against Women Partnerships (VAWP) insisted the Scottish Government should work with councils to outlaw lap-dancing clubs.

But venue operators said it was “unfair and untrue” to imply that lap-dancing is a form of violence against women.

Brightcrew, operators of Platinum Lace in Glasgow, argued its performers “are all strong, independent, talented women who choose to work in sexual entertainment”.

It added: “It is a well-remunerated occupation. It is a form of performance. It provides great flexibility in terms of hours and days of work, meaning that performers can work when they like, ensuring that they can find a balance between their work and other demands on their time, be it family, other work or studies.”

The Scottish Government said it would consider the consultation responses before bringing in new rules.

Provisions to create a new licensing regime were voted through Holyrood in 2015 as part of the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act.

The legislation allows councils to decide whether they want to licence sexual entertainment venues and set the number able to operate in their area.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Licensing of sexual entertainment venues does not seek to ban lap dancing or strip clubs but to allow local licensing authorities to decide what is right for their area.

“The Scottish Government accepts the freedom of adults to engage in legal activities and employment.

“However, it will continue to promote, through all relevant means, gender equality and actions that tackle out-dated attitudes that denigrate or objectify particular groups or individuals.”