YOUR article about dental attendance dropping ("Record low in rate of Scots going for dental check-ups", The Herald, January 22) fails to mention a single vital point. The charges for NHS dental treatment have increased considerably over the past 10 years to the point where it is barely affordable by the poorer sections of society.

Since NHS dentistry in Scotland is completely separate from that of England, it would be easily possible for our Scottish Government to ease the burden of payment for dental treatment. This might be effected by using the increased income tax imposed here, which, by the way, starts at £26,000, an amount which affects nearly everyone and not just the high earners as the Scottish government erroneously stated.

James Evans, Dumbarton

A kind of hush

LAST night (January 21) I and a few hundred others, principally grey-haired or bald acolytes, sat in complete silence, apart from the usual breaks where the audience is expected to demonstrate enthusiasm in an appropriate manner, listening to Tommy Emmanuel performing at the City Halls as part of the Celtic Connections series of events. The silence was because we were all transfixed and open-mouthed at a performance by a consummate performer who is the complete master of the guitar and makes it produce sounds in a manner that very few could emulate. Not a single phone went off, I even left the auditorium to deal with a tickly cough.

Anent the recent discussions on the behaviour of audiences ("Bring back ushers for audiences who can’t behave", The Herald, January 21, and Letters, January 22), perhaps the subject matter of the performance is partly responsible for noisy patrons as much as is the ignorant bad manners of a minority.

David J Crawford, Glasgow G12.

Fat chance?

WHEN I was in a convenience store for a newspaper the other morning, a group of young lads in school uniform came in and all bought produce from the pies and pastry counter, presumably for their breakfast. At the till, the shop assistant asked if they had a Young Scot card, which they presented and were delighted to get 10 per cent off.

Considering all the current publicity on Scotland’s health and obesity crisis, I left the shop questioning the wisdom of using public funding to give youngsters discount on Scotch pies and yum yums.

Maggie Openshaw, Aberdeen, AB15.

I DO not discount genuine food intolerances and life-threatening allergies but food fads are another kettle of fish and I understand the frustration of restaurateurs having to cope with the whims and demands concocted by some customers ("Food faddism risks turning customers into little dictators", The Herald, January 22 ).

Growing up in the 1940s there was little opportunity for dietary self-expression. The choice was take it or leave it.

R Russell Smith, Kilbirnie.

I SEE that Simon Howie’s meat-free haggis sales are up (" Meat-free haggis helps butcher to sales spike", Herald Business, January 21); in the same week a previously-unseen version of the Selkirk Grace has been unearthed (not):

Some folk hae meat that canna eat,

And some can eat that want it;

But we’ve nae meat, but we still eat,

Cos we are the vegans, get it!

John Dunlop, Ayr.