My state pension is my right

Barbara Gunnell reports ("Work until you drop", 16 April) that a right to a state pension is a "sacred cow" ready to be slaughtered. I hope the butchers remember it is a contractual obligation for the government. Each working generation pays for the one that went before, and in turn receives a pension from the generation that comes after. If the government wants to stop this cycle, it would have to cancel all subsequent National Insurance contributions, and repay all that have ever been made by the people who are not going to get the pensions.

I am 33 years old. Since leaving university at the age of 21, I have, thanks to free market economics, only been able to work for just over half of that time. My current job carries no pension. Why on earth should I squander my hard-earned salary on buying a pension plan, when the government owes me one anyway? I do not mind paying for the current generation of pensioners, and can even put up with paying for baby boomers, but only because I expect to get one myself when my turn comes.

John Morgan
Whyteleafe, Surrey

This article first appeared in the 30 April 2001 issue of the New Statesman, How new Labour wrestled with a world it never made