The government claims to have identified 120,000 so called ‘problem families’ across the country, who cost tax payers £9 billion a year in social damage (NHS, police and social services).
Most adults within these families spend their whole lives on benefits, the children are frequently absent from school and police are regularly called to their homes to settle domestic disputes
The government proposes to create a support network for these troubled families by diverting £448 million from existing departmental budgets into a brand new service. It is thought that these funds will only cover 40% of the overall costs, leaving local councils to fund the other 60% themselves, should they be eligible to participate in the programme.
The funds will be used to tackle truancy, anti-social behaviour and benefit dependency. If councils succeed in doing this, they will be rewarded with further funds from the government.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles told Channel 4’s Today programme: “I think there’s a kind of acceptance that we tend to throw money at these folks for them to go away and we have a chance now, a window to actually break that cycle of deprivation […] These families are ruining their own lives, they’re ruining their children’s lives and they’re ruining the lives of their neighbours and I think it’s a laudable attempt to deal with that to get their kids back into school, to get them on the road to work and to cut down anti-social behaviour.”
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