HUDDERSFIELD Technical College is set to scrap discounts for over-60s as confusion over age discrimination law hits education.
The new policy to charge full price to the over- 60s will hit students enrolling on courses at the Tech and its adult education centre at Holmfirth from next January.
The college’s vice-principal, Geoff Hitts, said concessions were being scrapped after the Association Of Colleges (AOC) advised that retaining OAP discounts would leave them open to age discrimination proceedings.
He said: “The college has held on to discounts as long as possible.
“Over-60s have had many years of this, for which the college has not been compensated.
“We have met that cost out of goodwill.
“We’re sad to see the end of these discounts. It will impact on enrolments.”
Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman – the chairman of the Commons Education Select Committee – said he had asked for more information from the Government.
He added that Ian Cawsey, the MP for North Lincolnshire, had successfully lobbied for the reinstatement of concessions in his area.
Mr Sheerman said: “I’m sure it’s wrong and if it’s not wrong I will campaign to change it. I will be getting all the facts and will be talking to Kirklees Council.”
A spokesman for the Age Concern charity said many institutions were confused about the law and were being overly cautious
He added: “Under age discrimination legislation organisations can treat people differently on the basis of age in the workplace, training or education, as long as they have a clear justification, backed by evidence.
“This means education courses can be offered at a discount to older people if a provider can show, for example, that this is part of a strategy for helping people in retirement maintain good health and quality of life.
“There is also a specific exemption in the new law which allows providers to treat people differently on the basis of age in order to attract under-represented groups.
“Over the last two years the number of over-60s in Šfurther education has Šhalved to 100,000.Š
“Community educationŠ coursesŠ geared for people in retirement Šhave fared little Šbetter with a 12% drop in students over 60.Š
“This shows that providing education for older people must be made a priority as the current situation is quite simply failing them.”
Dewsbury College and the AOC refused to comment on the matter.