With regard to your article about the mortality rate among Scots, why has it come as a shock when this situation has been with us since time immemorial ("Mortality rate among Scots is worsening", November 20)?

As part of my sociology degree at Durham University my dissertation focused on the comparison on health and mortality between Bearsden and Gorbals from the 1930s to the 1960s (it is available in the Mitchell Library).

As part of my investigation it was clear the level of poverty had a significant impact on the socio-economic life chances of where people lived.

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Although the present study has highlighted some improvements the underlying issue is still the same: poverty.

It is not just economic poverty that is the issue but poverty of opportunity, of life-choices and of mobility.

As the old saying goes: "The poor will always be with us". That is, until we do something serious about it.

Tom Lucas,

167 Edinburgh Road,