§ Vera Baird
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action the Government will take against companies who enforce retirement on male employees at 60 instead of 65. 
§ Ms Hewitt
I have been asked to reply.
The Government are currently undertaking a public consultation exercise on implementation of the European employment directive. The directive provides a framework for member states to introduce legislation outlawing unfair discrimination at work on the grounds of age, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. Among the age issues on which we are seeking general views is whether employers should be able to require people to retire at a certain age and, if so, whether legal limits should be placed on their right to do so. We shall carry 421W out a further consultation on specific age proposals later this year, developed in the light of responses to this consultation.
My right hon. Friend the Minister for Pensions replied on 25 February 2002, Official Report, column 781 W, explaining that the Government actively encourage employers to value the contribution of older workers and to adopt flexible approaches to retirement.