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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Getting Equal

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The following short article by Meg was published in the November/December newsletter Activate, published by Help the Aged.


As you get older there are new problems that arise - including when people suddenly decide you are too old. They think your brain won’t function; you can’t work a full day at your job. And, of course, these other people have ‘your best interests at heart’. Well, that’s discrimination, pure and simple.


New regulations that came into force on 1st October outlaw age discrimination in employment and vocational training. They are an important step forward for older people in combating discrimination. Hopefully they will help shift attitudes toward older people - and if attitudes won’t change, the law will be on your side to ensure that they do.


However, we know there are still concerns about the unfair treatment of older people in the provision of goods, facilities and services. We are considering what more we need to do to be effective in protecting older consumers. We are also examining the case for introducing a positive duty on public authorities to promote equality between people of different ages.


These are being examined as part of the Discrimination Law Review, an attempt to modernise and streamline equality legislation. We want a fairer and more user-friendly legal system - for employers, employees and the providers and consumers of services.  This will lead to a Single Equality Bill in the lifetime of this Parliament, in line with our manifesto commitment. 


There are examples of age limits that are necessary of course. We aren’t looking to abolish age limits for obtaining a driving licence or a state pension, or stop pensioners having concessionary rates.  People of different ages must continue to receive services appropriate to their needs - for example in health and social care.


Age limits are applied extensively, so we have to be careful, a new law prohibiting age discrimination could have unintended consequences. We will consult extensively, and I am keen that older people tell us their views and comments. We are particularly interested in examples of areas where age discrimination is a problem, and of age limits that you think are beneficial and should be retained.


You can find further information about the Discrimination Law Review on our website at: www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk/dlr . A link to the latest proposals, together with information on how to respond, will be included.  I hope you will read the proposals and let us have your views.

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