CHRISTOPHER H Jones (Letters, October 29) alleges Ruth Marr “fails to grasp the case that the UK Government has injected more than £2 billion and rising into the economy in order to support jobs, the economy and people’s livelihoods during the current pandemic”. The fact is, though, that the Chancellor had little alternative, faced with a total lockdown which would mean millions of employees otherwise having no source of income from employment.

This is turn would have had two consequences. First, the economy would have practically disappeared without trace as the level of spend would have diminished very substantially (at the same time, making even more people unemployed). Secondly, faced with no income other than benefits (if that system could have withstood the number of people making new claims) it is not impossible that social order might well have broken down in the worst affected areas. In short, the Chancellor’s action was not only a political, but also, even more so, a functional necessity.

However, as Ms Marr points out, “you can never trust a Tory”, which despite Mr Jones’s protestations is to my mind a reasonable comment on the policies of successive Tory governments, and in this regard the present one is certainly no better and might indeed be worse. Remember the Furlough Scheme paid 80 per cent of wages, but the Job Retention Scheme from November will only pay up to two-thirds. I don’t think anyone would welcome their income falling by this degree, but imagine what it will be like for those employed on two-thirds of the Living Wage (£9.30 outside London according to the Living Wage Foundation, so £6.10 an hour). As for those who will be put on two-thirds of the National Minimum Wage (which is £8.72 an hour, so £5.76), frankly words fail me. Then there are those who have to self-isolate who are put on statutory sick pay, or worst of all, “unauthorised absence without pay”. Is it any wonder the most deprived areas are typically the most severely affected by Covid19, as so many simply cannot afford financially to self-isolate?

Does this not make Mr Jones’ shiny claim of “more than £2 billion and rising” injected into the economy to “protect livelihoods” seem, if not tarnished then significantly inadequate?

In conclusion could I point out to Bill Eadie (Letters, October 29) that the Scottish Government is funded for devolved matters only and there will only be consequentials for those matters. Thus, much of the money spent in Scotland by Westminster is spent on matters that are retained there and are its responsibility. Moreover, it comes from tax revenue that Scotland contributes similarly to other parts of the UK.

Alasdair Galloway, Dumbarton.

AS we approach the end of October, a question arises: exactly whose side is the Westminster Government on ?

The furlough scheme is ending, plunging thousands into job insecurity and possible redundancy, with no equivalent scheme put in place. Today is the deadline for applications for mortgage holidays, again plunging many into insecurity. Those two are enormous elements of daily living, presenting such insecurity for thousands; it is a tragedy. But with Westminster, it does not stop there.

This is also the deadline to secure a Brexit deal, allowing time for ratification, a deal that will be vital for our economy, trading and future employment, yet a no-deal looks more likely by the day.

It's rather convenient for the Conservative Government that Westminster is in recess.

Catriona C Clark, Falkirk.

NOW we know why Nicola Sturgeon takes the daily press conference herself. John Swinney announced today (October 30), with little warning, that senior pupils must wear a face mask at all times in school. Why now and not earlier and as there is to be no penalty for not wearing it, just how effective is this measure going to be? This implies transmission has been occurring in schools all along.

Is the slavish desire to keep schools open yet knee-jerk reactions to closing down hospitality where social distancing was at least on the "menu" not an admission that perhaps the Scottish Government has not yet quite got this situation under control? The only method that did work was a complete lockdown. The only method of avoiding this is indeed the circuit breaker idea. Nothing else seems to be even partially effective.

The economic damage is the elephant in the room. The wisdom of Solomon is called for, not confusing tiers and changes of regulations. Unfortunately, neither John Swinney nor Nicola Sturgeon fits the job description.

Dr Gerald Edwards, Glasgow G77.

THE United Kingdom faces a Herculean task in fighting off the SNP and its independence project. The fundamental issue is that the majority of SNP supporters view independence through rose-tinted glasses, and it is perceived as a magical utopian panacea in which all of Scotland’s problems (and there are many) will suddenly disappear. In the minds of the nationalists, the notion of independence transcends all other considerations, and despite numerous failures (not least, the care home deaths, the Alex Salmond affair, the disastrous Scottish economy) the independence evangelists continue to support Nicola Sturgeon and her single issue party.

In the middle of the worst pandemic in living memory, the idea of another referendum should be forgotten and the single unifying priority of the Scottish SNP Government should be to protect Scottish citizens and prepare the country for a full recovery.

Ian Forbes, Glasgow G41.

Read more: Letters: UK Government has been reassuring in its ability to deal with the coronavirus crisis