Responding to today's publication of the Government's green paper on discrimination law, Kate Jopling, head of public affairs at Help the Aged, said:
"There are still gaping holes in legal protection against age discrimination which must be closed and today's green paper gives us a real opportunity to tackle these.
"This Government has made huge leaps forward in delivering equality for race, gender and disability, and more recently sexual orientation, religion and belief. It is a disgrace that older people have been left lagging so far behind. We're living in an ageing society where older people are the only growing part of our population - and yet age discrimination stops them playing their full part in society."
"A new Help the Aged report, 'Spotlight on Older People' launching tomorrow, tells us that 73% of people recognise age discrimination as a daily reality for older people. It stops them buying financial services, sees their needs overlooked in healthcare, and means they face patronising attitudes and damaging prejudice.
"Age discrimination still remains rife in our national health service, despite a government pledge as far back as 2001 to root it out. When compared with a 65-69 year-old, a woman aged 80 or older is five and a half times less likely to receive triple assessment for operable breast cancer and 40 times less likely to undergo surgery. And whilst the insurance industry says it values the grey pound, older people are three times more likely than younger people to be refused insurance. Surely this is reason enough for legislation."
"Without new law, older people will be left without any way of challenging the unacceptable behaviour they experience every day . The Government must take the historic opportunity of a Single Equality Act to address this gross injustice."