Natalie Elphicke MP with Marsha and Stephen Horne outside the Commons

The Dover & Deal MP, Natalie Elphicke yesterday brought in a new Bill to Parliament to tackle age discrimination in the workplace against older workers.

The Bill came about following age discrimination experienced by Deal resident, Stephen Horne, who is a train driver with Eurotunnel.

The age discrimination was described by the MP as “shocking and unacceptable” – but it is also entirely lawful. That position in law, said the Deal MP, needs to be changed.

Stephen has worked with the company for nearly 30 years and worked on the construction of the Tunnel itself. Speaking in the House of Commons, the MP explained that when Stephen approached his 66th birthday, his statutory retirement age, the company sent him a letter setting out that while they could not sack him on grounds of age, they were terminating his health insurance, death in service and his long-term income protection policy for long term sickness and accidents.

New law needed

The MP said that a new law was needed to put a stop to age discrimination in relation to workplace benefits. The new law would stop companies taking away vital workplace benefits such as healthcare insurance and death in service from workers who carry on working past retirement age.

Natalie Elphicke says the change is vital to treat older people fairly and to support older workers who choose to stay in the workplace.

The law change is supported by MPs from across the political spectrum. They include Caroline Nokes MP, the chair of the Commons Equalities select committee, Dame Diana Johnson, chair of the Commons Home Affairs select committee, Jim Shannon (DUP) and the SNP work and pensions spokesman David Linden.


Natalie Elphicke MP said: “What’s happened to Stephen is shocking and unacceptable but what’s even more shocking is that is currently legal. No-one should lose important and valuable workplace benefits simply due to age. There are more workers working over the age of 65 than ever before. It’s so important to treat older people fairly in the workplace and support older workers who chose to continue in their jobs past retirement.

“There are a million people in employment who are over 65. The number is continuing to rise sharply. That’s why age discrimination of workplace benefits, like health insurance and death in service benefits, needs to end.

“Age discrimination, like any other form of discrimination, is humiliating, demeaning and damaging. It’s time for equal pay for older workers.”

Stephen Horne said: “I’m doing the same job I was doing before I was 66. I can’t see why I shouldn’t receive the same pay and conditions. I’m pleased my MP Natalie Elphicke is putting forward a change in the law to stop this happening to others. However, I am also still hoping that the company will think again and put this straight in relation to me”

Natalie’s speech in Parliament can be found here:

By Ed

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