Accrington lap dancing club owner in job advertising row

Lancashire Telegraph: ‘INAPPROPRIATE’ The Department for Work and Pensions says adverts for lap dancers are against Jobcentre policy ‘INAPPROPRIATE’ The Department for Work and Pensions says adverts for lap dancers are against Jobcentre policy

THE manager of a controversial lap dancing club claims she is the victim of ‘political correctness and discrimination’ after the Jobcentre refused to allow her to advertise for dancers.

Kate Hartley is to launch iCandy in Blackburn Road, Accrington on May 31, with the help of 45 new members of staff.

But the 45-year-old grandma said she had ‘hit a wall’ in the recruitment process after being told she could not advertise vacancies for lap dancers, bar staff, waiting on staff and doorman.

When contacted by the Lancashire Telegraph, the Jobcentre said its policy was not to advertise for lap dancers, but it was now considering whether the other positions were suitable for display in its branches.

Campaigners against the club, who collected a 1,500 signature petition in opposition, said they applauded the ban, adding that a Government service should not be used to promote the business.

Ms Hartley said: “I think the Jobcentre’s attitude is absolutely crazy in the current economic climate.

“The Jobcentre should want to help us employ local people.

“It’s political correctness gone mad. They told me they would not be able to advertise my jobs as people will be intimidated.

“That’s discrimination. If people are mature enough to get a job they are mature enough to walk passed an advert they do not wish to apply for.”

Hyndburn Council gave the controversial venue the go ahead to open on April 11, despite a backlash from residents concerned it would give Accrington the wrong image.

The decision was made at a planning meeting with chairman Coun Bernard Dawson casting the deciding vote after a tie.

Ms Hartley said: “We want this club to work more than anything so we will be running it completely by the book.

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“Dancers will take clients to a private area and there will be no nudity in the main room.

“Yes, there will be a pole, but girls won’t be walking around naked.

“A number of local businesses have already been in contact to say they are looking forward to bringing future clients to our venue instead of having to take them into Manchester.”

So far the club has advertised for staff on social networking site Facebook and has around 30 applications.

All new members of staff will be required to prove their age and identification.

Ms Hartley said: “People are crying out for jobs left, right and centre.

“I know if the Jobcentre had advertised these position we would have been inundated with 100’s and 100’s of applications.

The club which is owned by Candy Leisure Ltd has been granted an alcohol and sexual entertainment licence by the council.

It will open with a VIP launch on May 31, and Blackburn businesswoman Margo Grimshaw will perform the cutting of the ribbon.

She said: “Any jobs created are a benefit to the local community. Work is very short and it will appeal predominantly to young people who are the ones likely to be looking for work.

“It’s up to people seeking jobs to decide which jobs they want to apply for.”

Campaigner Reverend Kevin Logan said he had not ruled out a protest on the opening day of the club.

He said: “Women are being degraded. This is one of the main reasons we have protested. It goes against everything we are teaching about women.

“It’s putting sex on sale in the high street.

“I applaud the Jobcentre. I think they are taking the view that the positions aren’t suitable and that there are better ways they can help people find employment.”

A DWP spokesman said: “Candy Leisure Ltd has asked us to advertise some vacancies for their new club.

"We have rejected the vacancies for lap dancers, in line with our policy, but there are also bar work opportunities and we are currently considering whether these are appropriate for advertising in Jobcentres.

“People who are desperately looking for work shouldn't be put in an environment where they’re exposed to these types of jobs and could feel under pressure to work in the sex industry.”

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