The Chancellor had the opportunity to deliver a budget which put vital money back into the pockets of the UK's poorest families. Instead of producing a roadmap to meet its commitment to end child poverty by 2020, the government did little to support the most disadvantaged children.
A Budget that didn't change much for children
A lot had also been spoken about proposals to remove Child Benefit from higher earners. The measures announced reduced the 'cliff-edge' effect but retained the impact on single earner households.
Why tax allowances will provide little support for the lowest paid
Personal allowances for income tax are to be increased in 2013 from £8,105 to £9,205, but many of the most vulnerable families will see very little benefit. Families earning under their current personal allowance will get nothing. Families earning above their personal allowance rate who receive housing benefit and council tax benefit will keep as little as £33 per year (64p per week).
Previous announcements that changed a lot
Previous budgets and the Comprehensive Spending Review in 2010, have had a big impact on children and families, much of which will only start to be felt over the coming years.
This year low-income working families will be affected by a cancelled above inflation increase in Child Tax Credit and a freeze in the rate of Working Tax Credit and Child Benefit. Hundreds of thousands of families are now being hit by reductions in support with housing costs and caps on the maximum support that families can receive.
An uncertain outlook
Over the coming years, welfare measures that have already been announced will increasingly eat into the incomes of the most vulnerable families. Worse still, there could be more to come. The Chancellor announced that he is considering cutting a further £10 billion from the welfare budget in the next spending review period. This could be simply devastating for the nation's poorest children.
The basic essentials are slipping further out of reach of more and more people. The government has missed an opportunity to help reverse this slide