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Ban on age discrimination in goods and services comes into force

Part 3 of the Equality Act 2010 came into force yesterday (1 October 2012), banning discrimination in the provision of goods and services on the grounds of age.

2 October 2012

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At the same, specific exceptions to the ban were introduced in the Equality Act 2010 (Age Exceptions) Order 2012, including age-based holidays, age-related concessions, age verification and financial services.

A spokesman for Age UK said the ban presented a “major opportunity to improve the lives of older people, especially in the context of health and social care” where there were examples of “ageist attitudes” influencing doctors.

“Unfortunately one area in which the ban will not be able to bring about much needed change is financial services,” he said.

“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.

“Age UK will continue to campaign to overturn this decision and, to coincide with the introduction of the ban, we have released research which demonstrates that older people still face age discrimination in motor and travel insurance.”

Other specific exceptions to the ban on discrimination are immigration, so the authorities can continue to take age into account, and residential mobile homes, where there was lobbying to ensure that young people could be kept out of holiday parks.

In addition, there are exceptions to allow private clubs and associations to provide membership discounts based on age or length of membership, and to allow age limits to be used in sports events.

A Home Office spokesman said there were already general exceptions in the Act, including positive action measures, and providers had the ability to justify age discrimination by showing that, if challenged, there was a good reason.

“There are no specific exceptions to the ban on age discrimination for health and social care services,” he said.

“This means that any age-based practices by the NHS and social care organizations would need to be objectively justified, if challenged.”

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