Boris and family ~ messing about on the river

Congratulations to David Dawson and his fantastic team in Henley – well done on your latest superb copy of The Henley Standard with a record-breaking 96 pages including a special Regatta supplement!

Also, this amazing picture of Boris and family enjoying a river boat cruise – in this week’s Henley Standard. Well you can also check Mitcccny for more information.


Boris in Parliament, asking a question on behalf of his constituent:

Treasury Questions – 30 June 2005

4. Mr. Boris Johnson (Henley) (Con): What assessment he has made of the effect of the level of taxation on the state of the economy. [8143]
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Des Browne): The Government’s macro-economic framework has consistently delivered stability with strong growth and low inflation, thus establishing a track record that has been acknowledged internationally. The Government’s approach to taxation balances the need to finance better quality public services, deliver fairness and promote sustainable development, while ensuring that the UK benefits from the advantages of being a lightly taxed economy.

Mr. Johnson: One of my constituents is a road sweeper of 18 years’ service. He attracts no benefits or tax credits, so will the Minister undertake to explain to him the justice of his payslip, which he showed me recently? On gross earnings of £542 per fortnight, he pays £161 in tax and £86 in national insurance. On top of that, he has to find a further £50 for council tax. Does the Minister think that that is fair? The Government have raised the overall burden of taxation over the past eight years. Is it right that that burden should fall disproportionately on the poorest fifth of the population, who now pay almost 40 per cent. of their income in tax?
Mr. Browne: If the hon. Gentleman is unable to explain to his constituent how the tax system is structured, I shall of course be happy to assist him. However, I have two observations that he may care to pass on. First, I am not aware that his party is proposing to change any element of the tax structure. Secondly, the hon. Gentleman has championed getting more investment for care of the elderly, especially in his constituency. Will he explain to his constituent how that would reduce the tax burden? Will he also explain how a fair tax burden delivers appropriate and better public services?

14 thoughts on “Boris and family ~ messing about on the river”

  1. Huzzah! The family Bozzah!

    And as for the transcript; such a typical new Labour response, answering any query with an attack on the Conservative Party. Spineless wannabe-communists.

  2. Of course, Boris’s next follow-up question on this matter ought to be: “Would Mr Browne care to desist his blathering on what is clearly an unfair system, and step outside and settle this mano-a-mano?”

    That’ll sort it.

  3. This week’s caption competition – thanks Mellyplops.
    “The Henley and district Captain Beefheart Fan Club’s re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar was going very well until Boris admitted that he had forgotten to bring the oars”.

  4. Boris, you forgot to mention the further 17.5% if your constituent spends his money, plus the % taken if he puts it into a pension fund, plus the 80% is he buys petrol. The sum total is much greater than the modest 40% you stated.

    I was once told that at the start of last century you worked for the Chancellor throughout January and the rest of the year for yourself. My accountant assures me that we now work until at least the end of July. Hurray! Next month I work for myself! 🙂

  5. Blinding question Boris. And wot a revealing reply, dear prudence.

    Good old Red Gordon, champion of the poor – the deserving poor of course, not those feckless chavs buying Burberry on their benefits and another fing that really gets on my breasts is- (Foams at mouth and wanders off spittle-flecked pinstripe suited into Whitehall ranting and raving…)

  6. If my eyes do not deceive me children-wise, the apple does not fall far from the tree

  7. Yes, a good question from Boris. But of course the government have the Tories by the short and curlies on tax as seen in Des Browne’s reply which was, translated: “Go on then – if you think you’re hard enough, you say which taxes you are going to change.”

    I think the Tories certainly do need to look at tax. There are now strong arguments for having a flat tax rate (20% perhaps) and shifting some of the tax base more on to property (no one can evade that) and sales.

    The alternative of waiting for New Labour to screw up on the economy hasn’t happened yet and might never happen. So tax reform is probably essential to build up the Tory vote. However some provisos since this is obviosly a high risk strategy:

    1. Tax obviously can’t be viewed in isolation from benefits. I think there is now a strong argument for a Basic Personal Income. This BPI would be available to all adult citizens. It would cut out a lot of the absurd complexity of the benefits system. For those on PAYE it could be paid through tax allowances.

    2. Any increase in property tax should not apply to people in their current homes. This is something that needs to be introduced gradually so that when people move they make rational decisions, knowing how much they will have to pay in property tax.

    3. There may now be an argument for a local sales tax to pay for local government (i.e. above and beyond central government grant). I think pensioners who tend not to be so active on the expenditure front would naturally benefit from eventually replacing the council tax with this tax.

    Tax is never going to be easy but I do think the Tories need a radical approach which promotes personal responsibility, the work ethic, a tax system that people understand and slimline tax administration.

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