Age Diversity

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th April 1999.

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Photo of Ms Linda Perham Ms Linda Perham Labour, Ilford North 12:00 am, 29th April 1999

When he plans to launch the code of practice on age diversity in employment; and what responses he has had to the draft code. [81529]

Photo of Andrew Smith Andrew Smith Minister of State (Department for Education and Employment)

I am pleased to say that the code will be launched next month. Its launch will be a great tribute to my hon. Friend's Employment (Age Discrimination in Advertisements) Bill and to other hon. Members who have also campaigned with such energy on this important issue.

We received 356 responses to the consultation: respondents found the code generally useful, clear and relevant. There were suggestions for improvements which, as far as possible, we are incorporating.

Photo of Ms Linda Perham Ms Linda Perham Labour, Ilford North

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer, and I congratulate the Government on their action to launch the code on age diversity in employment. It is one of several measures relating to older people that the Labour Government have taken—far more than the Conservative Government managed. I understand that the code will be monitored and fully evaluated by February 2001. If we are not satisfied with progress by then, will the Government consider legislation on age discrimination, perhaps in the next Parliament?

Photo of Andrew Smith Andrew Smith Minister of State (Department for Education and Employment)

I thank my hon. Friend for her welcome for the code. I believe that it will make a difference in spreading good practice, in helping to change attitudes and in challenging outdated assumptions. As she says, it will be closely monitored and carefully evaluated. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made clear in a written answer on 15 December, the impact of the code will be evaluated and that will inform future plans for legislation in that area.