THANK you to the drivers who delivered food, fuel, goods and kept the country going seamlessly. Thank you to the gas engineers, electricians, the water and sewage treatment workers, those working in the energy industry who keep the lights on, our homes warm, and safe with, water in our taps.

Thank you to those working in industries producing raw materials for food packaging, medicines, PPE, clothes – you name it, they've been making it this whole time. Thank you to the bus drivers, taxi drivers, train drivers, conductors, ferry workers and aircrew who kept our country moving and those who worked in the background to keep their vehicles going.

Thank you to the shop workers who worked without break to serve us food and essential items. Thanks to the farmers, the food workers, and everyone in our supply chain for making the food we need to survive. Thank you to the emergency workers who saved lives, picked up bodies, rescued us from broken-down cars and at sea. Thanks to our armed forces for continuing to keep us safe both at home and abroad. Thanks to the cafes, restaurants, pizzerias, chippies who kept us fed, helped out when everywhere was closed and kept our morale going.

Thank you to the band of volunteers the length and breadth of the country who have gone above and beyond with no recognition. And to our police who frankly have the most thankless job on earth right now.

They, and many more, have performed essential services that every single person reading this has needed, now, this year and always. We take them for granted because we just assume we'll have all those things they provide.

Their service, according to this Government, is not worthy of a tax-free £500 bonus, which leads one to draw an obvious conclusion regarding the cynical political move by the Scottish Government ("£500 Covid bonus for NHS and care home workers", The Herald, December 1), that singling out one group of workers above others is surely wrong. All are worthy of equal praise and thanks. Monetising that rather misses the point, but for all those who have provided essential services, a point has indeed been made.

Everyone, almost literally everyone, has done their part, large and small. This is my appreciation and it is heartfelt – and it doesn't come with £500.

Jamie Black, Largs.

I AGREE entirely with Alasdair Gibbons's well-made points regarding what is essentially a lack of protocol on the divisibility of resources according to proportionate public need (Letters, December 1). Many must recognise that the latest series of ploys by the SNP Government reeks of everything odious associated with 1950s Communist Russia in keeping people subservient and government-dependent.

I was parking at a supermarket car park yesterday and a tall, blonde, apparently expectant woman emerged from a very new top of the range SUV. I suddenly realised then that not only was I and other taxpayers going to be paying for her period products and her baby box but now we’re also paying for the breakfast and lunch of her children when of school age. Who voted for this? Such assistance should be given only to those who legitimately pay little or no income tax.

The SNP indyref2 policy has all the hallmarks of a grubby used car salesman offering inducements to buy. If the SNP succeeded in fooling the public into leaving the UK using what I and others must consider to be unsubtle back-handers, I am certain such pay-outs would evaporate early in their independence.

The £500 so-called gift of thanks to our NHS staff must surely be seen by them as offensive to their professionalism. As a profession, doctors and nurses do not constitute a charity. I am certain they do not expect such patronising gratuities, as they have a rich professional identity among themselves. What they have done during the Covid pandemic will not mean they expect a tip under the saucer.

It seems that the SNP, having recognised that it has lost the vote of teachers, now hopes to induce the support of medical staff.

I feel that the SNP has now gone too far in its desperation for independent power. I understand that about one-fifth of MSPs will not be seeking re-election in 2021. Surely there are capable people out there who can step up and stop this profligate party.

Bill Brown, Milngavie.

I REFER to the report that the Scottish Government has decided a coronavirus bonus is to be paid to every NHS and care home worker. I am sure that most people will not begrudge this move. Given that form of recognition and the fact that the NHS is currently under severe pressure, it is interesting to reflect upon the basis on which the NHS was structured and opened its doors in July 1948 insofar as most of the better-paid in its ranks are concerned. Aneurin Bevan, the then Health Secretary, assured the physicians and surgeons that they could still have their private practice if they wished, and doctors were advised that they would be paid on the basis of how many patients they were taking care of, rather than being paid a flat salary.

Even with what some would see as some drawbacks in its initial creation, Britain has been fortunate to have been so served over many years by the NHS and those working in it, sometimes at great personal sacrifice. Care workers are also deserving of our heartfelt thanks for their commitment and selflessness. I wish them pleasure in the spending of their bonus when it comes.

Ian W Thomson, Lenzie.

THE announcement of £500 reward payment to healthcare workers must have caused many of your contributors to choke on their tea or coffee on Monday evening when the news broke.

What is really disappointing is the reaction. It shows one of the flaws in our Scottish psyche, where the "what about us" and "they shouldn’t get that, they are paid loads" brigade are out in force, also shouting "foul, its a bribe", "it’s divisive, it will set worker against worker".

What is wrong with some of us? Why can’t we honestly welcome the recognition of these workers?

It's "if I am not getting it, then no one should get it", which smacks of Aesop’s Fable of the dog in the manger.

Means testing to target the low-paid will simply remove money from the payment pot to pay for the administration.

Administration is a necessary cost, but it is a drain on the pot. I also hope that HMRC will waive the tax due on these payments, so that healthcare workers get the full entitlement.

We as a society should welcome this gesture, rather than condemn it.

Alistair Ballantyne, Birkhill, Angus.

ALASDAIR Gibbons describes John Swinney's school meal initiative, whereby all children will be served free breakfasts and lunches as "a cynical election bribe". I wonder if Mr Gibbons considers the SNP making funds available to feed some of Africa's poorest children to be another "cynical election bribe".

Mr Gibbons "assumes" that 75% of parents can afford to pay for school meals, but that is by no means always the case, and I know some hard-pressed families who find this proposed policy from the Scottish Government to be very welcome. And remembering my own school days, when everyone knew exactly which children in the class got "free dinners", the SNP Government's commitment to treating all children equally and giving them the best possible start in life should be welcomed by everyone who believes in social justice.

Ruth Marr, Stirling.

CONTRARY to Bob MacDougall’s view (Letters, December 1), Andrew Marr’s aggressive and misleading use of Covid figures shows just how worried the British establishment is over the prospect of Scottish self-government.

Rather than using a very short snapshot period when England went into full lockdown but Scotland didn’t, Marr should have referred to the official UK Government’s coronavirus data website which shows that since the pandemic began the number of Covid deaths within 28 days of testing per 100,000 population is England 89.6, Wales 79.1 and Scotland 67.3.

This site also tells us that over the last seven days until Friday the number of cases by nation per hundred thousand was England 200, Wales 198, Northern Ireland 157 and Scotland 126. By any measurement, Nicola Sturgeon’s handling is clearly better than in England or Wales.

Also, Stirling University research published on August 30 found that care homes in England recorded a 79% increase in excess deaths, compared to 66% in Wales and 62% in Scotland.

The reason Scotland has a high mortality rate is that we have a porous border with the country that has the highest number of deaths in Europe and we suffered badly when Boris Johnson failed to lock down when advised to so at the start of the pandemic as Scotland had no powers to close its borders or the borrowing powers required to compensate businesses and employees

If the BBC were to broadcast the daily Covid figures for each of the four home nations then Mr MacDougall and others would not be so misinformed.

Mary Thomas, Edinburgh EH11.

WITH regard to this year's Christmas celebrations, most people in receipt of benefits will be unable to afford to celebrate Christmas. They will not have the money to buy their Christmas dinner nor have sufficient heating. Presents, unless given to them by one of the charities, will also not be on their agenda.

Going for a walk to exchange presents with your parents in the leafy suburbs sounds lovely. However, compare this to a walk in the streets of some of the less desirable areas, probably in the rain , and with no presents.

Survival is the name of the game for much of our population at present, not worrying about who is in their "bubble".

Get real Jason, Nicola and co.

Margaret Kerr, Airdrie.