Plans to bring forward a planned rise in the state pension age have been put on hold. 

The state pension age (SPA), currently 66, is due to rise to 68 from 2044, but reports earlier this year suggested ministers wanted to bring that forward – potentially as early as 2035 – with an announcement in May.

However, the Financial Times reported that ministers have now decided to delay a decision on the rise in the SPA until after the next general election, expected in little over a year’s time, amid fears of a backlash from middle-aged voters.

According to the paper, the move is partly in response to falling life expectancy rates in the UK.

There were also said to be concerns about voters having to work for longer after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt relaxed the tax rules in his Spring Budget last week on pensions for the wealthy with the scrapping of the lifetime allowance.

Speaking to the Financial Times, one Government insider said: “They were gung-ho to raise the pension age. But they got cold feet.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: “The Government is required by law to regularly review the state pension age and the next review will be published by May 7.”