Harman to reveal £30bn cost of ageism to British economy

HARRIET Harman will say discrimination against the elderly is a serious problem that requires action at the highest levels, in a speech to be delivered today.

The equality minister and deputy leader of the Labour Party was to say that ageism is costing the economy tens of billions of pounds a year. And she will say that there is a particular problem with the media's portrayal of older women.

In the speech at an Age UK event, Ms Harman will say: "We still have more to do to tackle the attitude that once you reach 60 you are just treading water until you become dependent. This is important not just for those individuals concerned but for the economy as a whole. We have to banish the ageism in the workplace that costs an estimated 31 billion per year due to lost GDP."

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At the conference, organised by Age Concern and Help the Aged, she will say that ageism against older women in the media is a "serious problem": "While the broadcast media finds it possible to value the older man as having experience and wisdom, they don't seem to be able to value the older woman in the same way."