Mel Stride said when deciding the pension age, the “pretty hairy” state of public finances had to be considered. The Work and Pensions Secretary said a review would be published in the next six months. It will examine factors such as life expectancy, cost, and “intergenerational fairness”.
Mr Stride refused to be drawn on whether the Government would recommit to the principle that people should expect to spend up to one-third of their adult life in retirement.
The state pension age is currently 66 for men and women, rising to 67 by 2028. It is due to rise again to 68 by 2039.
But there has been speculation that an increase could be brought forward as early as 2033.
Mr Stride told MPs on the work and pensions committee: “There are various moving parts in assessing where we should go with uprating the state pension age. One is life expectancy and… what proportion of your life should we expect people to have in retirement. Another is the cost.”
He suggested work done by the Office for Budget Responsibility on the possible state of public finances in 50 years’ time was a guide to the increased costs of demographic change.
He added: “If you look at the consequences of us living longer as expressed in the financial stability report…it all gets pretty hairy.”
Ministers would expect a 10-year gap between legislative changes to the retirement age and them talking effect, meaning a change to 68 before 2033 is unlikely.