Lap dancing clubs have become a routine venue for corporate nights out, according to new research revealing that many employees are claiming for visits on their expenses.
Many of the UK’s 300 lap dancing clubs deliberately target corporate clients, research from the Fawcett Society, a women’s rights group, has disclosed.
Researchers said 86 per cent of such clubs in London provided “discreet receipts” which would allow expenses claims without revealing the nature of the claim.
Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader and equalities minister, condemned the use of sex establishments by employers.
Miss Harman wants to stop firms claiming tax back when they pay for visits to lap dancing clubs in a bid to clamp down on the industry.
Kat Banyard, the Fawcett Society researcher who wrote the report, said: “The sex industry is increasingly targeting the corporate market, with lap dancing clubs marketing themselves as ideal venues to host meetings and client entertaining.
“Yet lap dancing clubs are a form of commercial sexual exploitation and fuel sexist attitudes towards women.”
Last year the Government announced plans to limit the licensing of lap dancing clubs under the Policing and Crime Bill currently before Parliament.
The then Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, indicated her intention to change the law so that lap dancing clubs fell into the stricter licensing category of ‘sex encounter establishments’, giving local authorities greater powers to stop them from opening.
Since the Licensing Act came into force in 2003, lap dancing clubs outside London have only needed the same kind of licence as karaoke bars and cafes. Since then, the number of clubs in Britain has doubled to 300.
Campaigners cite evidence that lap dancing clubs threaten the safety of local residents. A report by the Lilith Project found that incidents of rape in Camden rose by 50 per cent and sexual assault by 57 per cent between 1999 and 2002, during which time four lap dancing clubs had opened in the area.