Nothing is guaranteed

I must take issue with a couple of points made by Martin Vander Weyer ("A stake worth holding?", 23 April). He states that the stakeholder scheme demands a minimum of £20 per month, putting it out of the range of many people. It is true that many companies have this minimum, but not all do - for example, Virgin Direct (£1), Hargreaves Lansdowne (£10) and Marks & Spencer (£10).

Like many other financial commentators, Vander Weyer says that saving for a stakeholder scheme could wipe out entitlements under the minimum income guarantee and pension credit schemes. This is true under current legislation, but there is nothing to say that a future right-wing government would not strip away the minimum guarantees and make people provide for themselves. It is dangerous for people to assume that these guarantees will always be there.

David Rimmer
Hertford Heath, Hertfordshire

This article first appeared in the 07 May 2001 issue of the New Statesman, John Prescott: sinking fast