The Equality Act 2010, which received Royal Assent in April 2010, includes provisions enabling a ban on age discrimination in the provision of services and public functions. Implementing the age discrimination ban would require secondary legislation to be made, setting out the circumstances in which it would remain lawful to use age as a reason for treating people differently.
Before implementing the new age discrimination ban, we want to ensure that the new law prohibits only harmful treatment that results in genuinely unfair discrimination because of age. It should not outlaw the many instances of different treatment that are justifiable or beneficial. We therefore need to set out in secondary legislation the circumstances in which it would remain lawful to use age as a reason for treating people differently.
The consultation ‘Equality Act 2010: Banning age discrimination in services, public functions and associations - A consultation on proposed exceptions to the ban’ sets out those areas where we believe that different treatment of people of various ages is justified; and proposes how the legislation will be drafted to take account of these.
The consultation sets out the exceptions which have been prepared for the following areas:
- Age-based concessions. This exception will allow any organisation to use age to determine eligibility for concessions or benefits, provided that the purpose of the concession is to benefit the age group to which it applies.
- Group holidays. This exception will allow specialist holiday providers to continue to provide holidays for people in particular age groups, e.g. Saga and Club 18-30 holidays.
- Immigration. When determining a person’s eligibility to enter and remain in the UK, age needs to be one factor that is given consideration in some applications along with other factors such as earnings.
- Sport. This exception will allow for the continuation of age-restricted sports competitions, for example, under-21s’ football competitions and tennis veterans’ competitions.
- Residential park homes. This exception will allow residential park homes to continue to include age limits in their park admission rules.
- Financial services. This exception will allow the use of age in the assessment of risk, in the financial services sector to continue, provided that this is based on relevant information from a source on which it is reasonable to rely. Age-banding and age limits will also be allowed. In addition, we will use voluntary measures to improve access to insurance products through sign posting and to increase transparency regarding how age is used when pricing these products.
The Government proposes no specific exceptions to the ban on age discrimination for health or social care services. This means that any age-based practices by the NHS and social care would need to be objectively justified, if challenged.
This consultation will be of interest to:
- public bodies;
- others who perform public functions;
- organisations representing financial institutions;
- health sector organisations;
- equality lobby groups or bodies; and
- older peoples groups.