Campaign groups said the Budget was a let down for children, despite the Chancellor increasing Child Tax Credit payments.

From April next year, the child element of Child Tax Credit will increase by £20.

Children with disabilities will get an extra £100 a year in their Child Trust Fund, and there will be an extra £200 each year for those with severe disabilities.

But children’s charities say the Chancellor has not done enough to make progress with plans to eradicate child poverty by 2020.

Barnardo’s chief executive and chairman of the Campaign to End Child Poverty Martin Narey said: “The poorest families who are bearing the brunt of the economic downturn have been failed by the Government.

“While we welcome the investment in getting the unemployed back to work, poor families – including more than 1.5 million children with a parent in work – were entitled to believe they would be helped. That help – 38p a week per child – is derisory. The poorest children have been abandoned.”

The Campaign to End Child Poverty said yesterday’s Budget showed the Government lacks the will to put back on track its historic promises to halve child poverty by 2010 and eradicate it by 2020.

Campaign director Hilary Fisher said: “While we recognise that it is vital to get the unemployed back into work, we are disappointed the Government has not prioritised the urgent needs of the 3.9 million children living in poverty.

“Some families in poverty will be helped by the support for Jobcentre Plus and for those under 25 unemployed for over a year, but putting money into the hands of parents is the key way to lift children out of poverty and the shamefully small increase in Child Tax Credit will not be enough.”

The chief executive of Child Poverty Action Group, Kate Green, said: “The money targeted on the children struggling most during the recession amounts to less each week than the cost of a pint of milk. It is disgraceful to give such a pittance.

“The Budget urgently needed to give targeted help to struggling families who will spend straight away and give an immediate boost to the economy. Low income communities have also been denied the extra spending power that would have helped their local businesses stay afloat.

“The Government is now unlikely to meet its target to halve child poverty by 2010. Without investing the £3 billion in family incomes that the Campaign to End Child Poverty called for, millions of children across the UK will continue to face the unfair costs of social disadvantage, exclusion and poor health.”