AS the Scottish Government wrestles with the degree of lockdown it decides is necessary to control the spread of the pandemic, it has to balance that against the damage being caused to the economy by the continuing closure of all manner of businesses, together with the cost of the huge borrowings for the temporary furlough scheme to try to preserve as many jobs as possible for the future.

Many other countries, and in the UK Northern Ireland and now England, have started to ease their lockdowns to allow retail, hospitality and travel service businesses to reopen under guidance. The increasing demand from the Scottish business community to follow suit, coupled with the reluctant acceptance that the furlough scheme will be withdrawn, albeit gradually, in Scotland at the same time as throughout the rest of the UK will prove irresistible. Inevitably the Scottish Government will have to start its own distinctive easing very soon, and past experience indicates that will likely be about two weeks after England.

One possible glimmer of hope for reopening businesses may lie in any pent-up spending power accumulated in prudent households. Where furloughed and with little or none of their usual expenditure on retail, pubs, restaurants and holidays, they have had the opportunity to build up savings or reduce or avoid increasing debt. If this is correct it could give an initial boost to the takings in these businesses if they can attract people to come back to them whenever they reopen. Whilst there are official estimates of the losses to the economy caused by this pandemic, has there been any attempt to assess the value of this potential boost if it is agreed it even exists?

Alan Fitzpatrick, Dunlop.

THERE used to be a common saying, "shop till you drop". Viewing the pictures of the queues at the possibly-premature reopening of unessential shops in England, it appears in many cases that the two-metre rule outside was not being adhered to, possibly due to the rumours of reduction to one metre.

The Government in England for English internal affairs is eager for folk to spend and open up the economy, not primarily to ensure that the pandemic is reduced enough before easing.

The poor hapless citizens should beware of rushing out."Shop till you drop" could lead to their simply dropping, having succumbed to the virus.

Is your life worth a few baubles at this time to satisfy the increase in Government tax yields for Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Co?

John Edgar, Kilmaurs.

THE UK is likely to be among the highest debtors within Europe as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The billions of pounds borrowed to protect jobs, necessary as this may have been, will require to be repaid, possibly through increased taxation.

As the furlough scheme winds down, there is the potential for substantial redundancies.

Mortgage and credit card holidays will also draw to a close, while the compounded effects of the UK withdrawal from the EU will add to the uncertainty of future employment for many.

A number of businesses, large and small, may not survive after lockdown draws to an end, despite the determined efforts of owners or management.

Yet the Prime Minister trumpets that the UK will "bounce back" from the worst recession in history. While it is to be hoped that the economy will recover through time, any such recovery will be a slow and prolonged one.

To suggest otherwise is not only ridiculous but is insulting to those facing a very uncertain future.

Malcolm Allan, Bishopbriggs.