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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. 
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?