AN AYRSHIRE MP has challenged Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer to deliver a "cast-iron guarantee" that they will fully compensate more than 26,000 women in Ayrshire who lost out on their pensions.

And Dr Philippa Whitfordwarned that a failure to do so would be a "betrayal of women in Scotland who had their State Pension age raised, with little warning, and who have been so badly let down by Westminster".

The SNP MP for Central Ayrshire met with WASPI (Women Against State Pension Injustice) campaigners from across Ayrshire on Saturday.

An estimated 26,590 women across Ayrshire were affected.

She told them "For too long, the 6,000-plus women in my own constituency have been ignored by the UK Government despite the best efforts of the incredible WASPI campaign, but no longer."

Following the publication of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) report, neither the Conservatives nor Labout would give any guarantee that their parties would honour the report’s recommendations.

The proposed level of compensation is disappointingly low, campaigners have said.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) have not accepted any culpability nor responsibility to fully compensate the estimated 3.6 million 1950s-born women across the UK.

An estimated 6,570 women in Central Ayrshire, have been affected by the delay to their state pension.

In North Ayrshire and Arran the figure stands at 6,940, with 6,730 in Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock and another 6,350 in Kilmarnock and Loudoun.

Dr Whitford said: "Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer must finally give a cast-iron guarantee to the affected women in Central Ayrshire and across Scotland, that they will be properly compensated for this huge Westminster scandal.

"The PHSO report could not have been clearer: 1950s-born women were badly let down by the DWP’s failure to inform them of upcoming changes to their pension age. Since then, they have been repeatedly failed by the Westminster Government ignoring their plight.

"Regardless of whether it's Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer who enters No. 10 after the general election, both political leaders should now commit to fully compensating the millions of women who have been let down by the system.

"A failure to do so would be a further betrayal of the affected women, in Scotland and across the UK.

“I and my SNP colleagues will continue to stand up for 1950s-born women and are delighted to work with all our local WASPI groups.

"My colleague, Alan Brown MP, is currently promoting his Private Members Bill to deliver compensation, so all the UK Government have to do is support it and finally deliver justice.

 Lynne Paterson, joint coordinator of the WASPI campaign in Ayrshire, said:  “We are obviously pleased that our years of campaigning have been vindicated by the Ombudsman’s report, but we are also extremely disappointed at the level of compensation recommended.

"Many of our members have lost well over £30,000, some up to £55,000, so compensation of between £1,000 and £3,000 feels like an insult.

 “We are also dismayed that, despite the recommendations, the UK Government still doesn’t appear willing to act on the findings and compensate all those affected."

She added: “The meeting was very constructive and we are extremely grateful to Dr Whitford and all the Ayrshire MPs for supporting us throughout our long campaign and for continuing to stand with us as the fight for justice goes.”