"Has the Chancellor forgotten seriously ill children?"

The response to George Osborne's Budget delivery.

Barbara Gelb OBE, the Chief Executive of membership charity, Together for Short Lives, has responded to Budget 2016. The charity supports children expected to have short lives.  She said: "If this was a budget that puts the next generation first, where does that leave children and young people with life-shortening conditions? Have they been forgotten? "I’m disappointed the Chancellor hasn’t used his Budget to recognise and address the needs of the 49,000 children and young people with life shortening conditions in the UK. Vital support for children and their families is under-resourced and inconsistent, which is unbecoming of a good society. While I wholeheartedly welcome the Chancellor’s decision to provide funding for children’s hospitals - including for the first centre for children with rare diseases and undiagnosed medical conditions in Birmingham - he should have used the Budget opportunity to set out a long-term plan to fund and meet the growing demand for all children’s palliative care services. "The Chancellor has committed to provide around £500 million of additional funding to schools. I hope that this will include funding for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities - particularly those with life-shortening conditions, who have a right to an education and need support to access it. "The Chancellor stated that disability spending would rise during this Parliament. I hope this means that he will show compassion and lift the baby benefit bar by allowing seriously ill 0-3 year olds access to the mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance. This would mean that families could access the specialist vehicles they so desperately need. "The continuing lack of a clear commitment to funding life-line short breaks is another bitter blow to families who might otherwise buckle under the pressure of providing 24/7 care, month after month, year after year. We know that over a third of families caring for seriously ill children experience relationship and family breakdown; regular short breaks could make all the difference and help keep families together. "We also fear that the Chancellor’s failure to fill the gaps in the children’s palliative care workforce will mean that too many children will not get the care they need in the community at night and at weekends. "These children and young people have the weakest voice: their time is short, they can’t vote and most will never have the opportunity. But a good society, whatever its financial means, should listen to even the weakest voices and put in place the support they need to live as fulfilling lives as possible. "And while the media will spend the next few days analysing and understanding what the Budget means for Britain’s families, the needs of those caring for children with life-shortening conditions will sadly continue to be ignored. They are not typical families and they often need significant support just to stay together and do the simplest things that other families take for granted. We will therefore continue to press the government to agree a long term and sustainable funding strategy that recognises and reflects the increasing need of a marginalised and overlooked part of our next generation that desperately needs their recognition and support."
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