§ 30. Mr. Gardiner
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to reduce discrimination against older people. 
§ Mr. McCartney
We are committed to reducing discrimination against older people. The Department is responsible for promoting the business case for non-ageist employment practises to all employers and individuals across Great Britain. Through our Age Positive campaign, we are working to challenge ageist employment practices leading up to the implementation of age legislation covering employment, vocational training and guidance in 2006.
Evaluation of the impact of our Code of Practice on Age Diversity in Employment indicates that since it was launched in 1999, the number of companies using age criteria in recruitment has halved from 27 per cent. to 37W 13 per cent., and the number of companies with policies against employing older people has also halved from 14 per cent. to 7 per cent.
One of our Public Service Agreement targets is to increase the employment rate of people aged 50 and over, reducing the difference between that rate and the overall employment rate. By tackling discrimination and offering a range of back to work help, including New Deal 50-plus, the employment rate for people aged 50 to state pension age has increased each year for the last four years, faster than the overall rate.