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Have Your Say: Age discrimination

An older couple play with a child in the countryside
The bill aims to end the "last lawful discrimination" against older people

People will not be discriminated against on grounds of age when buying services such as insurance if the Equalities Bill becomes law.

The plans have been backed by charities for the elderly but would severely affect the financial services industry.

We asked for your comments, a selection of which are below. This debate is now closed.


Whilst I welcome the proposals on age discrimination for financial services there is great hypocrisy and double standards given our state system is institutionally ageist. The most recent example was the introduction of the extra £3,000 ISA allowance from for the over 50s only. If we take into account higher age allowances for income tax for the over 65s, free bus passes for the over 60s and winter fuel payments, there is a raft of legal discrimination against the under 50s.
Mike Grant, Northam

I have just had a review of a critical illness policy taken out in 1990 for about £20,000. I am now 53, and this April I have been informed that my premium will go up from £20.00 a month to £63.51 per month for cover of £22,196.00,(just a few thousand more than the original cover). This is a case of the arbitrary increase in premium due to age mentioned in your programme.
Dale Evans

Age discrimination? Why can't people under 50 not be able to invest up to £5,100 in their cash Isa from 6 October 2009 as announced in the recent Budget? No clearer example of discrimination.
Julian, Bradford

The government is right to make such practices illegal
Oni, London

My mother has regularly renewed annual world wide travel insurance and despite not claiming since it started five years ago all of a sudden they simply said "no you are too old" and refused to provide cover for her. Luckily we were able to get one from SAGA. The government is right to make such practices illegal.
Oni, London

Does this new legislation also ban the plethora of financial perks offered to the over 55s - such as bank accounts offering a more generous rate of interest than is available to the rest of society? What about Winter Fuel Payments - handed out solely based on age, not need. What about cheap meal deals and cheaper entry to events and attractions? And how about free swimming, free prescriptions and bus travel? Age Concern seems keen to eradicate all the costs and limitations based on age, but utterly hypocritical when it comes to getting rid of the freebies its supporters enjoy. And they enjoy many.
Maria Hampton, Cambridge

When my motor insurance became due last December I thought I would investigate one of the online comparison sites. Having only just celebrated my 66th birthday, I was shocked to discover that several firms would not even give me a quotation. They had obviously not bothered to look at my driving history - in over 40 years of driving, I have never been in an accident that was my fault. I would have thought that I was a safe investment. My driving ability has not changed just because I had a birthday.
Cecilia Bell, Leigh on Sea

Aged 60 I took out a small mortgage and was given Mortgage Protection Insurance. Last year they withdrew it saying I should never have had it in the first place as I was 60 or over! They did pay back premiums I had paid. When I turned 65 my then bank withdrew card protection insurance because I was 65.

I have tried many avenues to get mortgage and/or income protection because I work and am worried that should I become ill or redundant I will be left high and dry. I am devastated by this age discrimination as I am still fit and active in many areas. It is high time the government stepped in to make this practice illegal.
Sue Tetlow, Stockport

Of course it is wrong to ban age discrimination
Jeremy Hughes, Cobham

This government's wish to constantly interfere in peoples' lives in the belief that they know better than the electorate they are supposed to represent, instead of just handling what the individual cannot, has become so oppressive that the country has descended into a state where people are no longer prepared to take personal responsibility for their actions/wellbeing. Of course it is wrong to ban age discrimination. Why not encourage the elderly to form their own insurance business or lobby SAGA to open up another business stream?
Jeremy Hughes, Cobham

On occasions when I conduct business at my banks, either at the local branch or over the telephone, I am offered home insurance products. It is self-evident that I am over 60. Why is it that providers are keen to secure home insurance business from the over 60s but less willing to be accommodating over car and travel insurance? Perhaps it is recognised that we of the older generation look after our homes and are more security conscious than the younger generation. Insurance providers are less keen to accept risks which they associate with age. I for one would not pursue a home insurance product with a provider who was not equally accommodating with regard to car and travel insurance at reasonable and competitive pricing.
Pauline Hughes, Warwickshire

I was with the same travel insurer for 25 years and last claimed 14 years ago but as soon as I reached 65 the insurance doubled. This is clear prejudice against the older person. Insurance companies want to have their cake and eat it.
Michael, Reading

I am 69 and accept that insurance is based on a risk assessment whatever the age. Some of us are healthier than 40-year-olds. It should be based on a personal assessment.
Bob Holmes, Axbridge

I do not have a car but up until now I have hired one when needed. Last year, at 71, I was able to hire a car. This year, at 72, I was unable to hire a car due to the fact that I could not obtain insurance coverage.
B Simmons, Rugby

Last August my wife had a slight stroke from which she has 99% recovered and at the age of 73 is back playing golf with a handicap of 27! When we tried to get insurance for a trip to Spain in Febuary it was over £1,000 for the pair of us. We are now thinking of a holiday in France and are prepared to go without insurance as surely there is a European treaty to cover us for medical expenses. Why should we make the banking and insurance fat cats even fatter!?
P Reid

Last year when visiting the island of Islay we hired a car. We were asked our age, as from 70 years old we would not be allowed to hire a car. We were 69, but this year now that we are 70 we would not be allowed to do so. This is the policy of all the major car rental companies because it is the policy of their insurance backers. In theory, we could have hired a car for one day the day before our 70th birthday and be refused the next day! As our own car insurance sees no problem with giving us insurance, this ban based solely on age is unreasonable and discriminatory. Such a ban has been illegal in Ireland for a few years since challenged by a visiting Australian priest.
Helen and Morna Mulgray

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

Occasionally Money Box or Inside Money may wish to contact Have Your Say contributors about future programmes. If you find this acceptable we ask you to include your e-mail address.

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