I AM amazed that the key to our economic recovery is to get people back to their offices in city centres and flocking back to the coffee shops and sandwich bars.

I am sure that the economic powerhouses across the globe will be quaking in their boardrooms at the thought of Great Britain steaming into a new financial era on the back of skinny soya lattes.

It is also intriguing that coffee and sandwich chains such as Pret a Manger are looking at novel ways to encourage footfall. Their particular wheeze is to offer a one-month subscription of £20 that enables customers to get up to five free hot drinks per day!

READ MORE: The timeline of major job losses across the UK since March

This caffeine overload may increase footfall but there are more imaginative ways that would serve the general public better. Pret a Post Office could both sandwiches, drinks and the ability to post parcels and cash pensions. The extended opening hours and central locations would help stop post office decline. Costa Coffee could offer much-needed access to banking services and Cafe Nero could add community libraries to its shared portfolio.

When the coal mines and steel works closed, re-training courses were offered to the already highly skilled workforce. These were disrespectfully referred to as “welders into waiters” schemes. Is it not time to retrain the glut of baristas into bankers? Of course, the coffee chains could also work together to provide at least one free cashline machine per mile in their areas. Now that is lateral thinking.

Ron J Scrimgeour

I NEVER miss the opportunity to read the well-informed, crafted and always entertaining articles penned by the one and only Ruth Wishart. If this lady was asked to write an account on the joys and worthiness of watching grass grow she would undoubtedly succeed with great aplomb and not too little humour – generating an interest in the subject matter never held before. My way of honouring her dexterity. Gaun yersel, Ruth!

Tommy Murphy