I recently featured a blog entry about Help the Aged’s excellent campaign against age discrimination. Older people face age discrimination every day and Help the Aged is campaigning for a new law on age equality to give older people protection against age discrimination.
I wrote to the Minister responsible (Harriet Harman MP) and have now had this response from her office :
Thank you for your e-mail addressed to the Minister for Women and Equalities, the Right Honourable Harriet Harman QC MP, asking that legislative action be taken against age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services.
Sadly, for reasons that I am sure you will understand, Ministers are unable to answer all their correspondence personally and your letter has been passed to me for reply.
The Government has recently consulted on its proposals for an Equality Bill, which it has a manifesto commitment to introduce during this Parliament. The consultation document, A Framework for Fairness, sought people’s views on whether there is a case for introducing legislation to prohibit harmful age discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services.
The consultation closed on September 4th last year. We received over 4000 responses and a significant number of these were about harmful age discrimination. The Government is now preparing its response which we hope to publish in due course.
The key question being considered is whether legislation would be the most appropriate way to tackle harmful age discrimination or whether it might be more appropriate to agree targeted measures to deal with those areas or sectors where there is evidence of harmful incidents. We are considering whether and how we can ensure that any legislation would not prevent beneficial differential treatment on grounds of age – like free TV licences for people aged over 75 and discounted access to leisure facilities for both older and younger people.
Thank you for drawing the Minister’s attention to this crucial policy area which, as more and more of our population lives longer, is high on our agenda.
Government Equalities Office