Amend Equalities Bill to protect volunteers, say charity chiefs

Lobbyists call on MPs citing 'widespread evidence of discrimination'

Charity chiefs have called for an amendment to the Equality Bill to protect volunteers from discrimination.

At a public bill committee debate in the House of Commons this month, Andrew Harrop, head of public policy at Age Concern and Help the Aged, said there was "widespread evidence of discrimination in volunteering".

He told Third Sector some charities turned volunteers away for being too old and there was no law on discriminating against volunteers. He said the Government's failure to consult the Office of the Third Sector meant volunteers were not given a high enough priority in the legislation.

Ruth Scott, director of policy and campaigns at Scope, said the charity would lobby MPs to table an amendment to the bill. "Volunteers have to rely on being treated fairly out of goodwill, and this doesn't always happen," she said.

Tim Boswell, Conservative MP for Daventry, said he would not rule out tabling an amendment on the issue.

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