Equality of opportunity is a core coalition objective. It is fundamental to building a strong economy and a strong society. We want to make sure that everyone can realise their potential—part of this means ensuring people are treated fairly regardless of their age.
So I am pleased to inform the House that the Government are today announcing their intention to ban age discrimination in the provision of public and private services. We intend to do this, subject to parliamentary approval, from 1 October 2012.
We are taking a proportionate approach. The new law will only prohibit harmful or unjustifiable treatment that results in genuinely unfair discrimination and harassment because of, or related to, age. It will not affect the many entirely justifiable instances of different treatment that do not cause any harm. To ensure this, we consulted widely on specific exemptions to the ban. The Government’s response to that consultation is published today, and a draft order will be laid before both Houses shortly.
I have placed copies of the Government response in the Libraries of both Houses and it has been published on the Home Office website at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk.