Leading children's charity 4Children and the country's main nursing union have led the backlash against George Osbourne's Budget announced yesterday, describing it as a budget that "has done nothing to help parents" and one "without a silver lining".

While the budget did include positive news for low income families with personal income tax allowance raised to £9,205 from next April, this was balanced against cuts to child benefit for some, an increase in stamp duty and proposals to regionalise public sector pay.

4Children chief executive Anne Longfield said: "One speech has wiped away a principle held for over 35 years - and before that in other forms - of valuing and recognising the importance of children in every British family. 

"Child Benefit has been at the heart of a choice we all make over how we value the bringing up of all children in this country. My fear is that society may become less cohesive as a result of George Osborne's Budget today. Changes to child benefit really need to be deferred until 2015.

"It was also hugely disappointing that this budget has done nothing to help parents with the spiralling cost of childcare. George Osborne missed an opportunity to return the childcare element and help parents remain in sustainable employment."

Disappointment was equally felt by the Royal College of Nursing's chief executive Dr Peter Carter who said regional pay threatened to drive a wedge between NHS Trusts by creating "damaging competition".

News of increased fuel costs and a two year public pay freeze came at the end of disappointing week for nurses, with the RCN also speaking out against the "deeply flawed" Health and Social Care Bill moving a step closer to Royal Assent.

Dr Carter added: "Now that the Health and Social Care Bill is about to get Royal Assent, we wish to be clear that the RCN respects the democratic process. This is however a deeply flawed Bill that we have repeatedly raised concerns about. We have achieved some concessions which make the Bill a different piece of legislation from that which first appeared, but our real concerns about the future of the NHS have not been heeded.

"It is now our responsibility to patients to do everything we can to ensure that health service runs as best as it can despite the massive upheaval that this Bill will bring. Perhaps most importantly we will be supporting nurses who are going to have to pick up the pieces and still deliver the best care they can for patients through this extremely difficult time of change."

Click here for a summary of the key points from this year's Budget

Posted 22/03/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com