What does the March 2016 Budget Mean for Families?

George Osborne imparted the contents of his battered red box to the braying mass of the House of Commons today, but what does the Budget mean for families? Here’s some of the main measures announced that might affect you and your kids.

Sugar Tax

Reports suggest that, when the new two-level tax on sugary drinks is implemented, the cost of own-brand cola could rise by 80 percent. Of course, this won’t affect sensible people who already know that drinking three pints of Cillit Bang is preferable to imbibing own brand cola.

There will be one levy on drinks with more than 5g per 100ml and another for beverages with more than 8g per 100ml. It is likely that Irn-Bru will fall into the higher category (punishment for the Scottish for voting SNP), as will Coca Cola and Lucozade Sport (poor John Barnes).

This is a response to a campaign by Jamie Oliver and follows the release of a handy sugar checking app.

After School Clubs

Secondary schools will receive £285 million to fund more after school clubs for activities such as art and sport.

Academies for All

The big news is that all schools will have to become academies by 2020, following mixed results for those who have already travelled down that route. The major issue in education at the moment is a shortage of staff and the fact that many of those who do train leave within a couple of years; why is there nothing in today’s Budget to address that?

Instead, Gideon has set in motion a policy that denies schools the advantages of being connected to the local authority (legal advice, professional development training, specialist help for those with special needs) for no apparent benefit. It also means that primary headteachers will now find themselves stretched, attempting to put together an academy trust and jump through all the legal hoops that come with that, whilst trying to continue to do their actual job, all of that with much less support than a secondary head would have. Also, bear in mind that 84 percent of primaries (of which very few are currently academies) are already rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ for leadership and management.

Maths to 18?

Osborne appeared to suggest the government was “going to look at teaching maths to 18 for all pupils”. He appeared to suggest it because he actually said those exact words. However, he didn’t mean that apparently; a hastily written Treasury statement clarified that when he said they were “going to look at teaching maths to 18 for all pupils” he actually meant they wanted to improve maths teaching for older age groups who choose to study it.

Perhaps extra maths lessons would have helped Mr. Osborne with those tricky economic targets he seems to struggle with so much.

See the alternative toddler version of the Budget by clicking the link.

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