PROGRESS on settling complaints related to a case which saw thousands of steelworkers lose their hard-earned pensions following bad financial advice is "far too slow", a Gwent MP has said.
Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith has previously raised concerns with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) over its progress in settling cases related to the British Steel Pensions Scheme (BSPS) scandal.
The Labour MP wrote to the FOS over the case and has now received a response.
Mr Smith said: "The most recent response I have from the Financial Ombudsmen Service (regarding British Steel Pensions) tells me there have been delays in complaints handling due to the 'significant increase in the number of non-PPI complaints received during the pandemic'.
"As I said in my response here, progress on this has been far too slow.
"Behind the bureaucracy and backlogs are individuals who are deeply frustrated that this process is taking so long.
"Every month they have to wait for a decision is another month of uncertainty and insecurity."
Three years ago members of the BSPS were asked to make a final decision on their pension options - with more than 7,000 falling victim to unscrupulous 'pension sharks' and losing their funds as a result. The compensation owed to the victims is estimated at £250-375 million.
The Financial Ombudsman are currently considering 319 cases and have resolved 69 complaints. In addition to this, they have closed and transferred 137 cases to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
Last month Mr Smith wrote the the financial ombudsman raising concerns about the number of complaints which had not been resolved.
In his letter he said: "I now understand that the FOS is facing a significant backlog of cases across its remit, beyond BSPS alone. This is obviously concerning and I trust the necessary steps are being taken to increase capacity and clear the backlog.
"However, I am particularly interested in what action is planned to tackle the issues with BSPS cases specifically."
A spokesperson for the Financial Ombudsman Service said: "We appreciate that unfortunately customers have experienced delays in our complaints handling. This has been due to the significant increase in the number of complaints we received during the pandemic, as well as the operational difficulties we and the industry have faced in processing them. Our priority is to work through these cases as quickly as possible. A number of published decisions about BSPS are available on our website."
NOTE: We do not claim any right or title to this article which appears in South Wales Argus dot co dot uk. Author Rachael Nurse.