THERE is once again talk of impending tax cuts as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt begins work on his March Budget.

The Budget is one of the last setpiece events where the Conservatives might hope to introduce measures popular enough to dent Labour’s stubbornly persistent poll lead.

Yesterday, Mr Hunt gave enough hints to a supportive newspaper for it to say another one per cent cut in National Insurance was on the cards, which would give the average worker back about £225-a-year.

No one would sniff at that.

But while the Budget comes in March, in April comes the annual rise in council tax. All councils in our area seem to be inflicting the maximum 4.99 per cent rise that they can without a referendum, which will cost most households about £100-a-year. There seems no argument that our councils have been hollowed to the brink of collapse by years of cuts, with Middlesbrough, for a variety of reasons, in a precarious position.

We’re also seeing all our police authorities putting up their precept: Northumbria 7.7 per cent, North Yorkshire 3.99 per cent and now Durham 5.1 per cent. Durham will effectively mean a £13-a-year rise per household.

So central government is trumpeting its tax cutting while local authorities are quietly raising their precepts. Where is the sense in this?

Where is the fairness? Council tax is a regressive tax, as well as being outdated as it is based on 1991 property prices.

This week, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership pointed out that people in a house in Hartlepool worth £150,000 are paying more than £200 a year more in council tax than someone in Westminster in a property worth £8m.

Promises of tax cuts may win easy headlines but the reality on the ground is very different.