Plans to bring forward a planned rise in the state pension age have been put on hold amid fears of a backlash from middle-aged voters, it has been reported.

The state pension age (SPA), currently 66, is due to rise due 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 until after the next general election, expected in little over a year’s time.

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 has just relaxed the tax rules on pensions for the wealthy with the scrapping of the lifetime allowance.

The paper quoted one Government insider as saying: “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.”