Society: Age bias `a national shame'

More than 18 million British adults have experienced age discrimination in employment, health or welfare, according to a new survey released today.

The Gallup poll found that 70 per cent of the population believe age discrimination exists, while 18.5 million Britons have personal experience of it in one or more aspect of their life. Only half of them were over 45 - showing that it is a problem which affects most ages.

The survey was carried out for Age Concern to mark the beginning of the UK's first age discrimination week, when the charity will press the Government to introduce new legislation to outlaw the practice. It found that: 8 million people have experienced age discrimination in employment - 35 per cent were between 45-64, while 27 per cent were 16-24; almost 3 million people say they have been denied health care because of their age, while 6 million say they have experienced discrimination in insurance services; and 3.6 million feel they have suffered discrimination in financial services. Sally Greengross, director general of Age Concern, said: "Age discrimination is a national shame and should be outlawed. Our survey proves that action to eliminate it is essential."

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