THE Helensburgh woman leading the WASPI campaign in Argyll and Bute has hit out at the suggestion women affected by the scandal could receive a "derisory" £1,000 in compensation.

The local branch of the Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) campaign supports women across Argyll and the Isles who were born in the 1950s and are losing out because of the UK Government’s move to equalise the state pension age for men and women.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman [PSHO] has suggested that women could receive between £1,000 and £2,950 – a move which has been widely criticised by WASPI groups.

And Helensburgh resident Ann Greer, who co-ordinates the Argyll and the Isles WASPI campaign group, says she fully supports her fellow protesters' view.

"We are in agreement that £1,000 to £2,950, as suggested by the PHSO, is derisory.

“Even the highest level six, which has been backed by the APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group), of £10,000 or more, falls short of the state pension income of up to £50,000 many women lost.

“We know that the PHSO can't change primary legislation, and our national campaign has always agreed that the state pension age should be the same for men and women.

"But it has been distressing that the goalposts have been changed, not just once but twice, without accurate, adequate, timely notice.”

Research carried out by the House of Commons Library suggests that in Argyll and Bute, there are 6,520 women who were born in the 1950s who have been affected by the changes to the state pension age.

While WASPI campaigners, locally and nationally, say they don’t disagree with the equalisation move, they have been campaigning for years against what they say is the unfair way the changes were implemented.

The ombudsman ruled in July 2021 that government officials at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) had been too slow to tell many women born in the 1950s that they would be affected by the changes.

In a report published in March, the ombudsman asked Parliament to intervene and “act swiftly” to make sure a compensation scheme is established.

The ombudsman also noted that so far, the DWP has not acknowledged its failings or put things right for those affected.

In their report, the PHSO said: "DWP’s handling of the changes meant some women lost opportunities to make informed decisions about their finances.

“It diminished their sense of personal autonomy and financial control."

But the UK Government has so far not made a firm commitment to fully compensate the women affected.

The PHSO took the “rare but necessary” decision to ask Parliament to intervene on the issue, with work and pensions secretary Mel Stride telling the House of Commons that the government would "look at these matters extremely carefully, which is what everybody who has an interest in these matters would expect us to do".

WASPI was founded in 2015 and has since fought for justice for women affected by movement of the pension age.