A Renfrewshire councillor has raised concerns over the "unacceptable" delay of an investigation into complaints about changes to the state pension.

Alison Ann-Dowling, who represents Houston, Crosslee and Linwood, is one of several local politicians backing the Women Against State Pension Injustice (WASPI) campaign.

We previously reported that, two years ago, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) ruled the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) took too long to inform thousands of women born in the 1950s that the age they could draw their state pension was increasing.

Since then, PHSO has been investigating this maladministration and a final report was due to be published by the end of March 2023.

However, it was delayed after a legal challenge was brought against the PHSO for its stage two report by the WASPI campaign.

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The PHSO agreed to look again at the second stage of its investigation, in a move described as a "big victory" by campaigners at the time.

However, Councillor Ann-Dowling, deputy leader and finance spokesperson of Renfrewshire's Labour group, said she was now "concerned" about how long the process was taking.

She told The Gazette: "The initial investigation report of the Ombudsman found clear maladministration in the communication of pensions law changes. 

"However, when the Ombudsman completed a second stage report he was mandated to rewrite it because of legal errors identified, which the Ombudsman accepts he made.

"Since then, WASPI women have been left in the dark, with no idea of when the Ombudsman will finish his rewrite and no end in sight."

Councillor Ann-Dowling wants the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, which oversees the Ombudsman's work, to take steps to ensure the investigation is thorough and fair but completed as rapidly as possible. 

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She added: "We call for the UK Government to accept the findings of the Ombudsman when the Stage Two Report is concluded. It must take swift action to provide the recommended level of compensation to 1950s-born women.

"We can't let the Conservative Government off the hook from its responsibilities to these women. It's a matter of fairness."

A DWP spokesperson said: "The Government decided over 25 years ago it was going to make the State Pension age the same for men and women.

"Both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP under successive governments dating back to 1995 and the Supreme Court refused the claimants permission to appeal."

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee declined to comment.