LETTER: Anti-ageist legislation needed

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The Independent Online
From Mr Eric Reid

Sir: The adverse attitudes to age cited in your leading article about Virginia Bottomley and the Beefeaters (16 August) come as no surprise to members of the Association of Retired and Persons Over Fifty, or Britain's 18 million seniors. In today's competitive job marketplace, two thirds of the UK's male population available for work will find themselves without a job or any realistic prospects of work before the official retirement age of 65. One man in two over 60 years of age is currently jobless, and rarely from choice.

At a time when skills shortages are beginning to manifest themselves within many sectors of British industry, the operation of openly discriminatory age barriers demands to be countered by the only effective form of action that will curtail it: in a word, legislation.

ARPO50 will continue to press a reluctant Government to use the power of the statute book to outlaw age discrimination - not only in job advertisements but at all subsequent stages within an employee's career, from the process of staff selection itself through to the time when promotion or redundancy decisions are under consideration.

Individuals who have been discriminated against on the grounds of race and sex rightly have recourse to the Courts. That similar redress is denied to seniors, who are simply seeking to compete on a basis of ability with their younger colleagues, should be rectified with all speed.

Yours faithfully,

Eric Reid



London, SW1

16 August