Budget remains silent on the needs of seriously ill children

Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity is disappointed that the needs of families with seriously ill children were not addressed in today’s Budget, despite calls for increased funding to enable families to access much-needed Short Breaks and respite services. Such services were under-funded before the pandemic, and have never been more needed with the added pressures brought on these families by COVID-19.

In a budget focussed on jobs and livelihoods, it was notable that children’s services and support, social care, and the NHS were all absent from today’s announcements.

Rainbow Trust’s Chief Executive Zillah Bingley said:

"Parents caring for a seriously ill baby or child have been among those most isolated and anxious during the past 12 months. Families have juggled their child’s medical needs with caring for and home-schooling other children, coping with the loss or pausing many support services, and reduced contact with extended family and friends while shielding as a household.
"The Chancellor said nothing about children as he presented his Budget to the House of Commons, despite a stated focus on the nation’s future. The value of emotional and practical support to help families with seriously ill children to cope better at the hardest of times is still not being recognised in government plans, and remains almost entirely funded by charitable sources dependent on the public’s generosity.

"The roll-out of the vaccination programme offers the hope that many parts of society might return to some sense of normality by the summer. But for families caring for a seriously ill child, the daily demands of caring and shielding will continue for many months to come. Today’s Budget will only reinforce those families’ feelings that they are being forgotten."

As well as pressing for sustainable funding for Short Breaks and respite services for families, Rainbow Trust has been part of calls from across the charity sector for new emergency government funding for charities under the banner #NeverMoreNeeded.