IT was quite surreal reading your front page article comparing the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Job Retention Scheme (JRS) and the 2008 bail-out of our corrupt banking system ("Chancellor’s measures ‘may not be enough to save Scots jobs’", The Herald, May 30). You are essentially comparing apples with oranges, the only similarity being that on both occasions neither the Treasury nor the Bank of England had then nor currently has the money to do it. Just as has been the case in the 2008 Quantitative Easing scheme, the money the Government ostensibly borrowed has never been repaid just as the bill for the current JRS payouts will never be paid.

The major difference between the two events other than in the magnitude of the amount, is that in the case of the bank bailout only a tiny fraction of the money ever made it back out of the banking system, whereas the JRS scheme benefits not only the individual recipients of the money but it will be spent in its entirety within the confines of the UK to bolster the economy.

There is a fundamental difference between money and wealth and the Government could continue the JRS scheme as long as it wishes at least six times over before reaching the levels of funding it flushed down the tubes of the banking sector. If the money markets could tolerate the jiggery-pokery that happened in 2008 then why not now?

Mr Sunak should keep plucking the fruit from the money tree as long as he wants to, or perhaps more realistically, as long as he is allowed to by those pulling his strings.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

YOUR report on the financial repercussions of the current pandemic crisis reminded me of the old tradesman’s advice to his apprentice – “them that breaks fixes”.

We are often informed that we are due to be visited by a major recession once we are totally released from lockdown. I do hope that in this context the UK Government is mindful of the widespread criticism targeted at it regarding the handling of the outbreak. I consider that this should be reflected on how Westminster and indeed Holyrood inform themselves and set about framing their fiscal policies over the next few years. They cannot expect the general public to keep tightening their belts without setting a better example than they have so far in preventing the crisis.

Major investment in multibillion-pound projects such as Crossrail in London are so far advanced as to warrant continuation. Strategically a similar argument could be made for completing Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. Although it is probably too late to cancel HS2, I fully expect that the project will be re-phased. Several other major projects are worthy of review.

However, I do suggest the plan that in 20 years time, we ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars, should be at least postponed. The enormous cost of designing and having in place a national infrastructure and generating capacity to serve and make viable electric vehicles will come when we are still recovering from the economic disaster which Covid-19 has brought.

I am aware of the economic school of thought which suggests public spending should be increased at this time, but I feel that the unprecedented nature of what has happened – effectively shutting the UK down since the middle of March – perhaps suggests the need for a more cautious and conventional approach to housekeeping.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

I NOTE with interest your report on Scotland's funding needs ("‘Massive headache’ in row over virus money", The Herald, May 29). I'm sure many individuals, and governments, would always welcome more money, especially at this time, but perhaps Kate Forbes can tell us where the money allocated from the UK Government so far has been spent, how much remains unallocated, and what is planned for this balance. It would also be helpful to know how she would have funded this crisis had Scotland been independent.

Stewart Little, Bridge of Weir.

DOUGLAS Cowe (Letters, May 29) asks where Nicola Sturgeon would have gone for financial support during the pandemic should Scotland have become independent after the 2014 referendum. The answer is pretty straightforward; she would have done as leaders of other similarly sized countries have done.

I don’t compare Scotland with Norway, since that country didn’t squander its oil reserves as the UK has done, but can look to Denmark, Finland and Slovakia for example. They are working through the pandemic using their own resources and financial management. As far as I can see they are doing a far better job too, with between fiver per cent and 10% of the deaths per million of the UK.

We need to start to realise a few things: first, that small countries mostly do far better than large countries on very many social and economic measures; second, that when land, sea and air assets are allocated properly, Scotland is better resourced pro rata than rUK and last, that we don’t actually have a benevolent neighbour since the resources we are “being given by the UK” were ours in the first place.

John C Hutchison, Fort William.

Read more: Letters: Tory MPs should beware