Age UK welcomes end to age discrimination

A ban on harmful age discrimination in services is now in force after many years of campaigning by Age UK, its predecessors and other organisations.

Exceptions will be made under certain circumstances – for example, if the practice is covered by an exception from the ban, if it is designed to address disadvantage experienced by a particular age group, or if good reason can be shown for the differential treatment.

Age UK believes that the ban on age discrimination offers a major opportunity to improve the lives of older people - especially in the context of health and social care, where there is compelling evidence of the harmful effects of age discrimination ranging from arbitrary age limits on access to certain public health programmes, to examples of ageist attitudes influencing decision-making by doctors.

Now for the first time older people will have a legal basis on which to challenge these practices.

One area in which the ban will not be able to bring about much needed change is financial services.Despite concerted lobbying on the part of Age UK and others, the Government does not believe there is sufficient evidence of harmful age discrimination to apply the ban in this area.

The Age Discrimination Ban, which came into effect on October 1, has been introduced under the Equality Act of 2010 and covers those age18 or over, in both the private and public sectors, applicable in England and Wales.

Age UK believes age discrimination is wrong and blights the lives of many people in later life. Its Just Equal Treatment campaign challenged age discrimination and worked to make sure that we all have fair access to health services, insurance and employment.

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The charity believes people in later life will benefit from important new measures to prevent age discrimination in public services, healthcare and on the high street, and these changes will have a real impact on people’s lives. The Equality Act will encourage all parts of the public sector and many areas of the private sector to finally treat people on the basis of their needs and wishes, not just their age.

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