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  1. ITV Report

West Country women turn to food banks following state pension age rise

Women across the West Country say they are being forced into poverty because of a change in the age they can receive the state pension.

Campaigners in Yeovil, from group WASPI (Women Against State Pension Injustice), want to fight for compensation after many expected to receive the payment at age 60 but now have to wait longer.

The state pension age for women rose to 65 in 2018 to match men for the first time.

Woman living in the West Country say they have turned to food banks because of the rise in state pension age. Credit: ITV News West Country

However, the milestone has angered campaigners, who warned female retirees would face poverty.

In the 1990s, John Major's government decided to make the state pension age the same for men and woman.

Now millions of women, most born in the 1950s, have had to wait more than four years to receive their pension and say they weren't given enough notice or advice.

State pension campaigners have warned warned female retirees would face poverty. Credit: ITV News West Country

I'm 63 this week and I've got another three and a half years to work. I have no properties, I work very long hours - in fact, I have two jobs because I can't afford to survive without a pension.

I'm angry. I'm angry at the lack of advice they gave us, the notification of telling us and the hike of six years - six years.

The men only have a year to work, we have six and I'm just so angry at that.

– Sue Scott, campaigner

According to the founder of campaign group We Paid In You Pay Out, some women are resorting to food banks because of the problem.

Trudy Baddams said: "This is no way to treat us women who have done the right thing all our lives.

"We've done all our caring roles, looking after our own children and now we're also in the caring roles for our elderly parents."

The campaigners are fighting for compensation. Credit: ITV News West Country

A spokesperson from The Department of Work and Pensions said: "The government decided more than 20 years ago that it was going to make the State Pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender-equality, and this has been clearly communicated.

"People are living longer so we need to raise the age at which all of us can draw a state pension so it is sustainable now and for future generations."

In November 2018, a High Court judge granted a review into how the government handled the rise in state pension age.

It is expected to take place later this year.