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Consultation launched On Age Equality Exemptions

With new Single Equality Duties set to kick in from April 2012, the government has launched a consultation on how exemptions may apply in practise on age as a protected characteristic. Older people are entitled certain concessions such as cheaper car insurance, it was feared certain age related concessions may have become illegal. Holidays aimed at under 25 may become a thing of the past for example.

Age discrimination in the workplace has been illegal since 2006. The decision to extend this ban to the provision of goods and services follows the announcement earlier this year that the government plans to phase out the default retirement age, which can be used to force people to retire at 65 even if they don’t want to.
 
Speaking about the proposals Lynne Featherstone, Minister for Equalities said it was important to have certain exemptions such as free bus passes for the elderly, whilst banning all forms of age discrimination.
 
“It’s high time we put an end to outdated stereotypes based on age and recognised the valuable contributions that people of all ages can make to our society and economy. When older people are turned away from the market place through unfair treatment, the economy misses out on increased business and revenue.
 
These proposals will ensure that doesn’t happen, providing new protection and support for people of all ages. However, we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, which is why we will allow businesses to continue to provide the age-specific services that many people of all ages benefit from every day.”

The new rules will apply to services provided by the public sector as well as by private companies.


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