State pension age to rise in just weeks with millions to work longer as ministers ignore official advice

Jeremy Hunt has been warned that he is playing 'political fire'
Jeremy Hunt has been warned that he is playing 'political fire'

The retirement age is set to be hiked under new Government plans

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Millions are likely to have to work longer as ministers are set to raise the retirement age as early as the March Budget.

Those born in the 1970s and later will be told they need to continue working until they are 68 if Government plans go ahead.

The state pension age was already due to increase from 66 to 67 by 2028 with the next rise not due until 2046.

However, an upcoming review is set to say it should be brought forward which would help the UK’s struggling finances.

The state pension age is set to rise despite official advice against it
The state pension age is set to rise despite official advice against it

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak were warned last night that they were “playing with fire” if the drastic change came before the next general election.

But ministers say they are planning to make the move as the population gets older and birth rates plummet – meaning there will be fewer younger people paying the tax bill.

A previous review stated it should come as early as 2037 but the Treasury want the change to come in 2035.

The announcement could potentially come as early as the March Budget, according to The Sun.

Head of retirement policy at AJ Bell, Tom Selby said: “Rishi Sunak will be playing with political fire. The latest official data suggests average life expectancy improvements — the main justification for state pension age increases — have gone into reverse since the pandemic.”

The Chancellor also faces opposition from Work and Pensions boss Mel Stride, who is pressing for 2042.

Under new Government plans, the state pension age would increase to 68
Under new Government plans, the state pension age would increase to 68

A government source said: “There is a real risk that more people will die before they reach retirement and can draw their pensions, given the change in life expectancy projections since 2017 if we were to bring the state pension age increase too far forward.

"That would be especially true of people in the most deprived areas of the country where life expectancy is already lower.”

The Department for Work and Pensions said no decision has been made and the by law the Government has to review the state pension age frequently.