§ Lord Lester of Herne Hill
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they consider that the victims of age discrimination in the fields of education, housing, the provision of goods, facilities and services to the public, and public sector provision, should be given equal legal protection to that enjoyed by the victims of sex and race discrimination; and, if not, why not. [HL3820]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville)
Unfair age discrimination is intolerable wherever it occurs. The Government's priority is to introduce effective and workable legislation outlawing age discrimination in employment and vocational training. That in itself requires the resolution of a number of complex and sensitive issues, which are discussed in our consultation—Equality and Diversity: Age Matters— launched on 2 July. We shall be following it up with a further consultation in 2004 on the draft legislation itself.
In responding to our previous consultation—Towards Equality and Diversity—Age Concern England, the Third Age Employment Network, and the Association of Retired Persons Over 50 felt that legislation should be extended to goods and services.
The Government believe that legislating against age discrimination at work will help to form less ageist attitudes generally. Demographic and economic factors will also provide powerful incentives for providers of goods and services to change discriminatory attitudes and eliminate discriminatory practices.