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Age Discrimination

Volume 405: debated on Monday 12 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make a statement on his policy on the Central Office of Informations decision to reject a job application from a constituent of the hon. Member for Vauxhall, on the grounds that he is over the age of 60 and this contravenes their pension fund rules. [108679]

I have been asked to reply.The job application was rejected on the grounds that the applicant is over 60 and this would contravene pension fund rules.The rejection was wrong.There is no bar in the civil service pension schemes to employment over the age of 60. Indeed there are large numbers of scheme members over that age.

It is, in fact, COIs current retirement policy, agreed with its trade unions that it does not employ staff over 60. An apology was sent, explaining the error.

However, it is acceptable under existing COI policy, for people over 60 to be employed on fixed term contracts, rather than on permanent terms.

Correspondence with the applicant subsequent to the apology has indicated, implicitly, that his application would be considered, but this seems to have generated more confusion. COI has, therefore, sent an explicit statement offering, exceptionally, to extend the deadline for this applicant should he wish to apply. [108679]