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Equality review 'highlights need for legislation'

1st March 2007

The cabinet-commissioned equality review has highlighted the need for a single piece of legislation to tackle inequality, Help the Aged has argued.

Chaired by Trevor Phillips, the head of the commission for racial equality and human rights, the report condemned the "intolerable levels" of inequality affecting people on the basis of their gender, race, disabilities or sexual orientation.

And according to the elderly people's charity, it has emphasised the need for a law to protect older people.

Paul Cann, the director of policy at Help the Aged, said: "This considered report paints a picture of a society struggling with inequality across the piece.

"It is notable that across the various means of measuring equality, older people score low compared with many other groups.

"The report correctly highlights how the tightening of eligibility criteria for social care has had a negative effect on vulnerable older people."

Mr Cann praised Mr Phillips for condemning "the inexcusable way in which many health professionals such as GPs and cardiologists refuse treatment for older patients purely on the grounds of age".

"What shouts loudly from this report is the need for a comprehensive single equality act which remedies the pernicious spread of ageism across all levels of society and especially within the provision of goods and services," he added.

The review comes ahead of a Help the Aged campaign called Just Equal Treatment, which aims to promote age equality.