OPPOSITION MPs in North Yorkshire labelled the budget a "missed opportunity", which did nothing to tackle the crisis in care homes.

Harrogate Liberal Democrat MP Phil Willis welcomed the decision to scrap the "hotel charge" - cash deducted from pension payments when the elderly are in hospital. But he attacked Gordon Brown for failing to promise extra cash for nursing and care homes.

A shortage of places has led to severe "bed blocking" problems - where elderly patients are fit to leave hospital, but not well enough to go home.

Mr Willis said: "There was not a word or mention of this crisis. If you come out of hospital and go home your pension will be intact, if you don't and need to go into a nursing home, God help you."

Vale of York Tory MP Anne McIntosh said: "The Budget was bad for families and bad for jobs. People are paying more and more tax - from this week a typical family are another £568 per year worse off but their public services are still not good enough."

Ryedale Tory MP John Greenway highlighted the 1p increase in the pound in National Insurance Contributions. It was coupled - for a second year running - with a freeze in personal tax allowances. He said: " It remains to be seen whether the Chancellor's forecasts for future growth in the economy will prove true."

York's Labour MP Hugh Bayley welcomed the end of the "hotel charge".

"It was never fair to cut pensions, especially for those who had a husband or wife who was not in hospital.

"The economy has turned down, but not as badly in Britain as elsewhere in Europe. Because the Government has repaid so much debt in the past five years, we are able to borrow to protect public services."

Selby Labour MP John Grogan said: "This is a steady as you go' budget for Gordon Brown, with prudent borrowing which allows the Government to maintain its public spending programme. I think the child trust find - baby bond - will prove popular as the years go on and will encourage saving among families who would not do so otherwise."