Government must make implementing the Equality Act a top priority
8 April 2010
Sarah Stone, the Deputy Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, has welcomed the age provisions in the new Equality Act wholeheartedly and believes they will make a real difference for older people by tackling unfair age discrimination.
Sarah Stone commented “I hear of many examples where older people feel they have been discriminated against because of their age. To end this, it is vital that there are no delays in turning the Equality Act into practical reality, no matter which political party comes into power after 6 May 2010. Public bodies should be acting on their duty to ban unfair age discrimination against adults by April 2011, and the ban on unfair age discrimination against adults when providing goods and services, including health and social care, should be operating by 2012 at the very latest.”
Examples of measures to tackle age discrimination that the Act aims to promote include:
- A hospital giving older people the same care and attention for a medical condition as they do younger people with the same condition.
- A local council putting additional benches in local parks to help older people enjoy the park.
She continued “Age discrimination often goes unrecognised in our society because it has, in some instances, become normal to discriminate unfairly against older people. The Act will help individuals and organisations identify more clearly what age discrimination is and how it can be tackled.”
The Equality Act will not affect products or services for people where age-based treatment is clearly beneficial, e.g. flu vaccinations for the over-65s. The law will only stop age discrimination where it has negative or harmful consequences.
The Act will also put a new Equality Duty on public sector bodies. This will mean that public bodies will need to think about the needs of everyone who uses their services or works for them, regardless of their age.