Gordon Brown’s budget could prove to be a real morale booster for
those working in the public sector. The serious amount of extra
cash available should really make it possible to provide a better
service, particularly in the case of those working with children.
Of course, any staff celebration is somewhat overshadowed by the
paltry below-inflation pay offer currently on the table. And those
working with older people must feel decidedly underwhelmed. No big
handouts for them and although their clients over 70 will welcome
the extra £100 they are receiving, one-off gestures do nothing
to address the underlying causes of pensioner poverty.
Another question mark is the swingeing central government job cuts
which could well affect the ability to deliver at local level key
policies such as those set out in the new Children Bill.
But having said all that, on balance it was a good budget for
children. Brown has the bit between his teeth when it comes to
improving the prospects of young people. Who knows, if he carries
on like this, perhaps the goal of ending child poverty within a
generation is actually within his grasp.