This election briefing note examines the evolution of the tax burden over the last 60 years. Section 2 begins by giving an overview of revenues over time. It compares the change in the tax burden since 1997 with historical changes and analyses how it reflects changes in the relative growth rates of revenue and national income. Section 2 also examines how the composition of tax revenues has changed since Labour came to power and compares this to the trend seen over the period in which the Conservatives were in power from 1979 to 1997. Finally this section puts the change in the tax burden since Labour came to power in an international context. Section 3 examines the extent to which changes in the tax burden since Labour came to power can be explained by discretionary policy changes, economic growth and other factors.