ON Tuesday Chancellor Kenneth Clarke will present the first tax-and- spending budget since the Sixties. This week the Candid Caller, modelling a big red box, asked: What are your thoughts on the new winter budget?

Mr K Clarke of Manchester: 'Only this Government could come up with a budget to raise prices just before Christmas - that's really going to boost confidence and sales in the high street, isn't it? This from the same people who, in the worst recession for years, cracked inflation.'

Mr N Lamont of Newtownards: 'It would be nice if they don't change a thing. My policy has always been: if you can afford 'em, buy 'em. If they put money on cigarettes, drink or petrol I'll still buy them.'

Mr J Major of Leyland: 'I'd rather any increases were on things like cigarettes and drink than essentials like fuel and books.'

Mrs N Lawson of Wearside: 'I think if the Conservatives really asked most people, they wouldn't mind spending a little bit extra on income tax if things like VAT on fuel could be left alone.'

Mr G Howe of Leicester: 'If Clarke taxes clothing, books and fuel, then it'll be the poorest who are worst off, once again.'

Mrs D Healey of Liverpool: 'I'm afraid I'm not clever enough to answer questions about the budget, sorry, dear.'

Mr I Macleod of Edinburgh: 'The main savagery is going to be VAT on fuel. We run a guest house and it won't affect us so much, but I think it will hit our old people on poor incomes very hard.'

Mr R Jenkins of Lye: 'I always thought that if a man couldn't have a smoke and a drink after work then life wasn't worth living - but since then I've had a heart attack and had to give up smoking. For a change, the big cheeses should be hit by the budget rather than the working people.'

Mr J Callaghan of Byefleet: 'I don't have any suggestions, I just accept that the budget is going to be a catastrophe.'