YOUR correspondent G C White (Postbag, October 13) is guilty of muddled thinking. It is ridiculous to suggest that an increase in fuel duty would be to our economic, environmental and social benefit.

A tax on fuel is a tax on all our base commodities, everything we need at some stage travels by road.

The people most affected by fuel tax are the poorer sections of our community, the well off hardly notice.

Pensioners living in rural areas have lost their post offices and shops. To get their food and pensions they have to travel to the nearest town, by car in many areas where there is no bus service. Farm incomes have dropped by90 per cent while their costs, including transporting cattle to market, continue to increase.

G C White is also in error to describe the picketing of fuel depots as illegal, had it been the police would have taken action.

There is also no comparison with what happened here and what occurred in France. Roads were not physically blocked, unlike in France.

Another error is the belief that the police in this country have always dealt with illegal picketing. The police in Birmingham failed to prevent the illegal picketing and closure of Saltley Coke Works during a miners strike.

It is scandalous of the present government to state that we either have fuel tax at its present level or reduced spending on health and education.

There are so many ways our taxes could be reduced without reducing spending on essential services. We could stop spending millions preparing for the introduction of the Euro, something the majority of the people in this country will not allow. We could reduce QUANGOS, spin doctors, the army of special advisers and many more I could mention.

Cars can be environmentally friendly by using Bio-diesel which is produced in Germany but when used in this country is subject to the same tax as other fuels although it is carbon negative ad thereby less polluting. We could produce it in this country and give a boost to our farmers. In four to five years time it is expected cars will be able to use fuel cells which will be free of pollution.

ALEC WALL, Bank Street,

Stoke Bliss, Tenbury Wells.