IT has emerged that banks have been refusing to advance government money allocated for business rescue unless their customers have exhausted all other conventional means of borrowing, such as the pledging of property as security. This defeats the entire purpose of the Government's rescue scheme.

As with the £375 billion of Quantitative Easing issued by government via the banks in previous years – equal to £6,000 per head of the UK population – this latest government aid also looks set to quietly vanish.

The Bank of England has asked banks to suspend payment of dividends, which they will no doubt be glad to do, and to cease the payment of bonuses, which they will probably not do if past experience is anything to go by.

The role of a private banking system, that milks society when tasked with helping it, must surely be called into question when this virus crisis is over.

Malcolm Parkin, Kinross.

WHILE being in lockdown is, at present, a bit of a novelty, if it continues people will begin to question the common sense of some of the approach to the rules. At the weekend photographs of cars "queueing" to enter Strathclyde Park were actually cars parked and wider shots showed that people were practising more than adequate social distancing. This did not stop some people calling for these people to be fined or worse.

Unnecessary journeys should be those which lead to increased social contact, not less. At present travel to a quiet area seems to lead to increased social contact with the police or local vigilantes, some of whom seem to consider themselves exempt from social distancing rules. I note that today some common sense has prevailed and that travelling a reasonable distance to exercise is now considered OK.

Regarding Scotland's position on closing construction sites, not all such work can just be abandoned. Work has to continue until the integrity and safety of the structure is assured. Locally council houses are being refurbished while still occupied and have been left with roofs untiled. With the lack of traffic this would also be an opportune time to carry out roadworks.

There should also be a continuing assessment of what becomes key in the longer term – for example, workers in the supply chain, IT support and the like. With many plant growers facing ruin would there be any great risk in allowing garden centres to reopen providing another activity to people at home?

Alexander Johnston, Inchinnan.

SURELY it is time for union-backed strikes on non-essential construction sites?

Norma Barclay, Edinburgh EH3.

I CAN well understand the need for essential workers to be out and about and then returning home to their immediate family, but have great concerns over the lack of proper protective clothing and the similar lack of testing for them and family. I cannot see the point however of putting thousands of volunteers and their families at risk, when we are being advised not to be closer than two metres apart and not to be in groups greater than two unless they are immediate family already in household quarantine ("Thousands of Scots signed up to volunteering pledge in just hours", The Herald, March 31). Those volunteers are not going to be tested either.

I do not dispute the help that volunteers would/can give, but great care must be taken, not only for their safety, but also of those around them back at home. It has, however, been very heartening to hear of the volume of people willing to offer their services.

George Dale, Beith.

WILL this time of house arrest, deprivation and coronavirus-enforced austerity allow us to revalue our lifestyles? Fractious, chaotic, greedy, idolatrous and self-absorbed, society before this crisis had the hallmarks of absurdity from the perspective of our chastened hindsight. In this emergency humanity has come to the fore personally, locally and in national politics.

Should we ever return to footballers, entertainers and media people being paid so much? Can democratic carping be exchanged for reasonable debate and discussion? Can some depth and seriousness be part of our new life together?

Can alcohol consumption and gambling be abated permanently with new low standards of consumption and practice agreed? Can the false edifices of sporting sponsorships be left to wither towards the minimal? Can television exploitation of human weaknesses cease forthwith?

What we need to survive should be the future base line. A simpler collective appreciation of what really matters should be emphasised. Unrestrained consumerism should not dominate existence. The majority of humanity live without this.

We can rediscover ourselves as nobler creatures with a higher vision of our life’s purpose. The "Sabbath" principle is ancient wisdom but now we are all observing it. The weekly variant could be introduced as a future way of life to increase mental and physical health.

We may never be as free again. Our liberalism has enlarged our capacity for self-destruction. Conspiracy theorists foresee a new world order, managed by elites.

Christianity is embedded in our racial memory. We are acting out its precepts of simplicity, self-denial and love of neighbour. The world is unintentionally observing Lent. The longer this struggle goes on, the more we will change and it may be for the better for everyone.

Rev Dr Robert Anderson, Dundonald.