§ Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what evidence he has about the impact of age discrimination in restricting employment opportunities: and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. McCartney
There is a wealth of UK and European research which has tried to measure the effect of age discrimination, but it is difficult to give a robust statistical analysis of its extent and impact. Research is inevitably based on people's own perceptions of employment related age discrimination. Initial findings from the evaluation of the code of practice on age diversity in employment indicatearound one in four older people believe that they have experienced age discrimination in relation to an actual or possible job at some point in their working lives; andthe use of age criteria in job selection has halved from 27 per cent. to 13 per cent. since the code was launched in June 1999.
These initial findings were published in March in "Age Diversity: Summary of Research Findings", copies of which are in the House Library.
The Government are continuing to promote vigorously age diversity in the workplace through the age positive campaign, which highlights the business benefits of an age diverse work force. This includes: three national and regional awards initiatives, which serve to publicise and reward achievements and examples of good practice; direct mail campaigns targeting selected industry sectors; and the placing of articles in trade sector and regional 138W press. Later this year we are launching an age diversity website, which will provide information and guidance and include a discussion forum.
As part of the work on taking forward the development of clear and effective employment legislation on age by 2006, the Government have set up an age advisory group of key social partners to help in identifying the issues that need to be addressed. The group, which includes representatives from the CBI, TUC, Age Concern, CIPD and Employers Forum on Age, will also be offering advice on further ways of achieving the changes in culture that will contribute to the success of tackling age discrimination.