£450m diverted for 'troubled families' scheme
The government has diverted almost £450 million from existing departmental budgets to help tackle the 120,000 ‘troubled families’ that it claims cost English taxpayers £9 billion a year.
The expanded cross-departmental trouble-shooting programme will see 152 English councils incentivised to tackle behaviour in the families identified.
Government will contribute £448 million to the programme, with funds coming from existing Communities and Local Government department, Department for Work and Pensions and Department for Education budgets. However, government backing will only cover 40 per cent of costs, with the remainder funded by local authorities. These councils will receive extra cash for successfully cutting truancy rates, anti-social behaviour and benefit dependency.
Communities secretary Eric Pickles is expected to announce later today that all councils have agreed to take part in the programme.
The families, identified by Prime Minister David Cameron following last summer’s rioting, are those that are said to meet five out of seven criteria, including joblessness, addiction and overcrowding.
The figure of 120,000 comes from data collected in 2004 which identified families with multiple disadvantages. The government has been criticised for using these figures to identify what Mr Cameron has called ‘troubled families’.
Research carried out by the independent Riots Panel - set up to look at why the August 2011 riots happened and now disbanded - found that there was limited overlap between this group and last summer’s rioters. A survey of 80 councils revealed that only 5 per cent of them believed there was a correlation between those families earmarked for the programme and those responsible for the disturbances.