You remember the Inland Revenue has overpaid a lot of poor people in tax credits and is now demanding the money back. If the people don't have the money any more (would you?), they have been advised, the Parliamentary Ombudsman says, to borrow from credit card companies. "Is this good advice?" George Osborne asked.
Dawn's lovely face has darkened over the last few days. Pressure has a poor effect on her complexion. They called her Red Dawn but she is beyond blushing. The rubbish that came out of her mouth. She'd get a job on The Exorcist.
Gordon Brown stood up to answer on the forecasting accuracy of the Treasury. He made much reference to the Opposition record in power, but who's interested? They haven't been in power for well over a decade. It's even been eight years since they were in office. Brown sounded about as prime-ministerial as David Cameron. (That is not very prime-ministerial).
Boris got up, to ironic cheers, and very nearly got away with it. He asked a very good question. He revealed the details of his street sweeper's pay slip. Out of a fortnightly gross of £542, this fellow paid £161 in tax, £86 in National Insurance and then a further £50 in council tax. "Do you think it's fair that the poorest fifth of the population are now paying almost 40 per cent of their income in tax?" he asked. Actually, adding it up, the sweeper seems to be paying more than 50 per cent. Count the VAT and various other charges, fees and levies and it's probably over 60.
As Frank Field asks his colleagues: "Where does the idea come from that working-class people like paying tax?" He never gets a satisfactory answer either.
Boris's point was answered by the fact that he'd gone to Eton, he was drumming up subscriptions to The Spectator by leafleting parliament, and that he'd been "educated beyond his intelligence". So that's that.
Sir Peter Tapsell, who will be father of the House if the paternity suit is successful, made another good point. He was treated worse. He referred to the huge losses made by Mr Brown selling British gold too cheaply and investing it in the euro. "Of course, the euro has risen in value," the Chancellor said, dismissing the point amid the jeering cheers of the Conservatives. (They were jeering Sir Peter, it should be noted, not the Chancellor).
Sir Peter retorted from his sedentary position, "But not against gold! Not against gold!" But when you are known to have a special subject, the House never listens.Reuse content