15/01/2002

Organisation hits out at ageism in the UK

Discrimination on the grounds of age is still widespread in the UK workforce, despite the Government’s continued attempts to eradicate such unfair treatment.

According to an ICM poll carried out for Age Concern, 70 per cent of people believe that age discrimination occurs in today's society, with one in three respondents stating that they knew someone who had been a victim of age discrimination in employment.

One in ten people said they have experienced age discrimination in health care and the health insurance sector as well as in financial situations, when trying to secure loans and credits.

Londoners and respondents in the East of England were particularly aware of age discrimination with 78 per cent and 76 per cent respectively saying they felt it existed.

Age Concern said that the Government’s voluntary Code of Practice on age diversity – introduced in 1999 – was clearly not working, and that ‘comprehensive legislation’ was needed in many sectors of life, if the issue was to be adequately resolved.

Gordon Lishman, Age Concern England's Director-General added:

"This survey is proof, if ever any was needed, that age discrimination is rife in our society today and that we need comprehensive age legislation to combat it. Almost a third of people between the ages 55 and 64 claim that they have been discriminated against at some point in their lives."

"Age Concern is launching its individual membership scheme, which will give older people the opportunity to directly influence policy makers and force the 'age issue' higher up the political agenda. As an organisation that works with older people in so many different contexts we are best placed to listen to their demands and to relay them credibly." (CL)

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