EVER since the basic old age pension came into being in 1909, state provision for old age in the UK has been niggardly, and I must agree with the sentiments and facts expressed by your correspondent John C Hutchison (Letters, October 1 in the first part of the second half of his letter.

However, since about 20 per cent of the population of the UK is over 65, one might wonder why, if there are such huge swathes of poverty, there are such considerable volumes of advertising, often for goods and services which might be deemed frivolous, aimed at the pensioner population.

In addition to the state pension, a substantial minority of retirees will benefit from a pension which formed part of their work-related benefits, whereas I suspect that most of the EU pensioners will get their benefits from the general taxation imposed on their fellow countrymen and women.

Pension contributions are often touted as a way to reduce tax bills, but this is considerably less attractive than it was, since the voracious appetite for money of governments of both political persuasions over the past 35 years or so have regarded pension funds as milch cows. This depletion has led to the demise of practically all final salary/defined benefit schemes, so the next generation of pensioners will probably be less prosperous, and have less time in which to enjoy their benefits.

Christopher W Ide, Waterfoot.

THE CASHLESS COUP

I HAVE lost count of the number of letters I have sent over the years to The Herald regarding the creeping closure of local banks and disappearing cash-machines; the proposed 50 per cent reduction in TSB outlets (" TSB axes half its Scottish bank branches with 300 jobs at risk", The Herald, October 2) is simply the latest part of the global banking cartel’s master-plan.

Their plan involves the eventual withdrawal of paper money, leaving a society where all transactions are carried out on a computer chip; this chip is currently on a plastic card but eventually will be injected subcutaneously in everyone, probably as part of an unique identifier in new-born infants. This may sound far-fetched science fiction nonsense but some employees in high-tech firms already have this done for example to allow access to restricted areas and to pay canteen bills. Banks will eventually become the only legitimate institutions able to act as a repository for personal savings and earnings, no legitimate business will deal in cash. Your stash of “fivers” under the bed will be worthless as no legitimate business will accept them for payment. Those who control the banks will control us.

The rapid growth of the online retail business here in the UK for example and the upsurge in countries such as Nigeria of the younger generation abandoning cash and paying even trivial sums via apps on their mobile phones herald the changes afoot. As a result of the pandemic it’s literally months since I paid any bill with cash, usually “tapping” my card on a terminal and that suits the cartel perfectly.

If the general public and our elected governments cannot see the danger in the proven corrupt private banking cartel being the sole repository of all “money” and fails to stop it happening then society is doomed to even more inequality poverty and destitution than it unfortunately and unnecessarily already has.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

I CONFESS to being mildly quizzical at the practice of doomscrolling the web for negative news reported in your Issue of the day column ("The pandemic fuels ‘doomscrolling’", The Herald, October 2).

I guess many of my vintage will remember the lugubrious Mona Lott – the clue is in the name – wo raised spirits as part of It’s That Man Again (ITMA), the BBC radio comedy which ran from 1939-1949, and will not dwell too long on the dark side of news.

There are always many worse off than oneself, but if in need of help, I suggest daily recourse to the The Herald’s The Diary for light relief.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.