PATRICIA Dewar Gibb (Letters, October 13) wonders “why are no tradesmen available?” hypothesising a supply side issue – ie, there are just not enough of them to meet demand. There are, though, two ways of looking at this.

One is that it is a demand issue. Many people were unable to go on holiday, and, assuming they could get refunds if necessary, that money may be burning a hole in their pockets. Particularly being stuck at home for far longer than usual, the defects of one’s home and the possibilities of improvement become increasingly obvious.

Alternatively, is it a supply issue (that is, not enough tradesmen)? However, Ms Dewar Gibb herself says that “there is massive unemployment looming”, which I suspect is correct. I wonder whether she would recommend an apprenticeship in a construction trade when the current excess demand may well disappear like snow off the proverbial dyke, leaving the newly qualified construction worker with no work?

However, to limit our consideration only to the looming level of unemployment conceals the reasons for it, which, I think, are mainly two-fold.

One reason is the economic destruction being wrought by Covid-19. While, in general, I support the policy of trying to restrict social interaction and thus to limit the virus’s spread, there will be a reckoning in due course. I can only hope the traditional economic nostrums of successive Conservative Governments, that the books must be balanced, are not the basis of policy development. The level of indebtedness of practically every government in the world is going to demand much more creative economic thinking of the kind developed by, for instance, Michael Hudson and Steve Keen.

The second reason is the potential economic destruction brought on ourselves by leaving the EU, particularly if this is done without any future trade agreement. The double whammy of Covid and Brexit have the potential to create an economic recession that can barely be imagined. As Bob Dylan wrote, “A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall”, and we are all going to need an umbrella. Given Covid allied to Brexit, that rain is likely to be awfully hard indeed, and made all the harder if future economic policy reflects “balance the books”, rather than more original and creative economic thinking.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.