A North Ayrshire MP has come out in support of findings that concluded that the Government was too slow to inform women about the rise in the state pension age. 

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has found failings in the way the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) communicated changes to women’s State Pension age.

This may bring the prospect of compensation closer for thousands of women born in the 1950s.

Although this marks a significant victory for the WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality), the ombudsman has no power to refund 'lost' pensions. 

The 1995 Pensions Act changed the law so that women would no longer be able to claim their State Pension at 60. The Ombudsman received a significant number of complaints about the way this was communicated by DWP.

Many women said that they were not aware of the changes, and experienced significant financial loss and emotional distress as a result.

PHSO has found that from 2005 onwards, there were failings in the action taken by DWP to communicate the State Pension age. The investigation report has been laid before Parliament.

Patricia Gibson, MP for North Ayrshire and Arran told the Herald: “Today, following the findings of the Parliamentary Ombudsman which has concluded that the Government was too slow to inform women about the rise in the state pension age, every single WASPI woman should feel vindicated.

“This finding is hugely significant for the women affected after years of being ignored and dismissed by the UK Government. Now the UK Government needs to do the decent thing and ensure that women born in the 1950s are finally and fully compensated for their lost pension years.

"In addition, the Government should apologise to all the women affected for the unnecessary hardship and distress they have endured as a result of these failings.  

"Continued failure by the UK Government to act in view of this ruling would heap yet more injustice and hardship on all the women who have been so badly let down and so very poorly served by this clear case of maladministration within the DWP.”

The Ombudsman’s investigation will go on to consider the impact these failings had and make recommendations to put things right for any associated injustice. 

Amanda Amroliwala, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman CEO, said: "After a detailed investigation, we have found that DWP failed to act quickly enough once it knew a significant proportion of women were not aware of changes to their State Pension age. It should have been written to the women affected at least 28 months earlier than it did.

"We will now consider the impact of these failings, and what action should be taken to address them."

In response to the findings, Cunninghame WASPI group released the following statement: "In relation to our women have suffered due to the fact that we did not know the state pension age had changed, some women had already stopped working before their 60th birthday. They thought that they would get their state pension as per their contract with the government when they started work at 15 years of age.

"Other women stopped working due to ill health or early retirement, they then found out they had to wait an extra six years for their state pension.

"Some women lost their homes, had to downsize, drawdown any savings to keep them going for six years.

"There has been an additional change regarding national insurance some women have 43 plus years to qualify for the full pension but will be paid the old rate.

"We have waited a very long time for the PHSO decision and today we are happy that WASPI women have been vindicated in their fight for Justice. We hope that the government does the right thing and compensates WASPI women as quickly as possible."