Children's charities and the Royal College of Midwives have given a hugely negative response to the Chancellor's latest Comprehensive Spending Review.
National Children’s Bureau chief executive Hilary Emery said the latest cuts showed that "the Chancellor does not appear to have had children at the forefront of his mind when he set out his spending plans."
Key measures announced by George Osborne that could impact on families included the introduction of specific requirements on access to childcare for lone parents with 3 and 4 year olds, and the inclusion of tax credits in the new cap on welfare spending.
Bear the brunt of cuts
That reduced welfare spend includes a further 10% cut in funding for councils which council leaders meant libraries, leisure centres and school support services would bear the brunt of the cuts.
Emery added: "This spending review has exposed how as a nation we are not seeking to adequately invest in our children’s wellbeing. The greatest unfairness is surely not loading debts on to the young but failing to give every child an equal start in life regardless of where they live or what home they grow up in."
Cuts also extended as far as the millions of public sector workers who will lose automatic annual pay increases as part of Osborne's £11.5bn cuts package.
Deepy unfair to public servants
The Chancellor claimed the current system was “deeply unfair” to public servants who did not receive the increase but his proposal of performance-related increases has provoked a furious response from unions and the RCM.
Director for Policy, Employment Relations and Communications John Skewes said: "The RCM and other NHS Unions have agreed recently to reform pay progression in the NHS which has already been implemented.
"Currently the pay system rewards experience and expertise. We will not tolerate any further pay cuts for hardworking midwives and the bonus culture that the Chancellor is proposing will not provide better care by the NHS.
"The clear message of the RCM is think again Chancellor. You run the risk of undermining professionalism and the service our members provide."