No doubt these letters pages provide a cathartic outlet for the various gripes that beset readers.

They might even be a useful form of opinion polling for councillors but they can lead to a misleading view of the current socio-economic situation in that only the discontented bother to write.

As an antidote to the "whingers' chronicle", I look forward to the business pages with their almost regular, optimistic report on the country's economy.

Last week was no exception. Mark Froud, Sussex Enterprise's chief executive, was quite sanguine about our economic future when he claimed: "Whatever you may think about the Government, it is the first time we have had stable, low-inflation growth for ten years running."

More particularly for readers of The Argus, he claimed Sussex's overall high level of skill gives us an edge over competitors.

We are only held back from higher achievements by the shortage of people with basic skills.

Unfortunately, despite all the educational testing, we still do not know how many 16-year-olds leave school without those basic skills.

-Reg Jenkins, Hove