In response to Colin Harding's assertion that expecting taxpayers to subsidise the public sector's "pension extravagance" is a "scandal" (7 April, page 37), can I check that this pension extravagance would be the average pension paid to public sector workers of about £3500 a year (probably just enough to pay your utility bills)?

If he wants to talk about extravagance maybe he should also contact his local MP and ask why their £48,000-a-year pensions have just been boosted by the Treasury?

And regarding the 85-year rule, most, if not nearly all, of us realise that we will have to work well past 65 to pay off mortgages and further educate our children. But we have been paying into the pension fund in the understanding that we could, if we wanted to, retire if our age added to our years of service equated to 85. For the government to withdraw this little-used rule without consulting the unions is scandalous. We do not expect the taxpayer (and don't forget we are taxpayers, too) to fund this - the money is there. Why else have we been paying our share into it? Perhaps it is because back in the 1980s, when council pension funds were doing well on the back of the stock market, many councils decided to opt out of paying into the pensions fund and now realise that was a mistake.

And don't listen to those who try to turn this into a private vs public fight. The way private sector workers have been treated is a scandal - they should also be asking their employers why their pension provision is so poor. And they could also ask people like Colin Harding what his pension will be like when he retires? A lot more than the £3500 a year we can expect, no doubt.

B Haddock