Investigation by ITV Tyne Tees uncovers a vicious circle leaving huge numbers of people in debt & councils millions of pounds out of pocket
Northern MPs line up to criticise the government's financial decisions in a debate about the state of the regional economy.
Twitter reaction to the Westminster debate on the future of North East's Economy following the budget
Businesses in the region have welcomed the Chancellor's decision to postpone a planned 3 pence rise in fuel duty. It had been due to go up in August, but will now be frozen until the end of the year.
Lobbying by Tyneside based bakers Greggs lead to a government U-turn over VAT on hot pasties. But Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah still isn't happy claiming the 'pretzel sellers' of Newcastle are next in line for the VATman.
Members of the PCS Union say cuts are stopping them clamping down on people who avoid paying.
Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs says the government has put millions of pounds into tackling tax avoidance, evasion and fraud. But Kevin McHugh, Deputy National President of the PCS Union, says workers don't have the resources they need.
HM Revenue and Customs workers in Newcastle have gone on strike.
The union said 30,000 jobs have been axed since 2005 and a further 10,000 are set to go, 'undermining' efforts to investigate schemes such as the one used by comedian Jimmy Carr, which sparked a political row last week.
– Mark Serwotka, PCS General Secretary
It is sickening to see millionaires in the cabinet wringing their hands about the immorality of tax avoidance when it is their lack of political will to act that means we lose tens of billions of pounds every year.
The case for investment in our public services as an alternative to austerity could not be more obvious than it is in HMRC. Yet the government wants to cut 10,000 more jobs from the department, letting the wealthy tax dodgers off the hook and punishing the rest of us for a recession we did not cause.
An spokesman from HM Revenue & Customs said the strike action was 'disappointing' and everything is being done to minimise disruption to customers. The government agency is looking to talk to the PCS union to address their concerns.
MPs at Westminster will discuss how the government's financial decisions are affecting the North East. The special 90-minute debate will be led by the Gateshead MP Ian Mearns, who will be joined by some of his Northern colleagues.
A taxpayers campaign group has criticised Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council for proposing to increase council tax.
The Taxpayers' Alliance has blasted the local authority for proposing a 3.5 per cent rise.
A spokesman for the TPA said: "Those politicians proposing rises in the region have decided to increase the burden on local families."Since 2001-02, Stockton-On-Tees residents have seen their council tax bills increase by 39 per cent, the watchdog added.
A spokesman for Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council said: "Stockton's council tax for the coming year will be the third lowest in the North East and we have an outstanding record of sound financial management and good, value for money services."