Monday, 02 March 2015

Welfare cuts clash with troubled families agenda

Plans to tackle 120,000 ‘troubled families’ might be derailed by changes to welfare benefits, local authorities have warned.

A report by the Child Poverty Action Group into the impact of welfare reform in London has found that local authorities said households likely to be hit by the changes to benefits may also have significant social problems.

The ‘troubled families’ initiative was launched by prime minister David Cameron in August 2011, in the wake of the riots in London and other cities. The programme aims to turn around the lives of 120,000 families with a history of anti-social behaviour.

But CPAG said its research into the impact of welfare reform on local authorities showed ‘conflicts’ between the changes and other government priorities.

‘Several local authorities had identified a cross over between families caught by the benefit cap and those meeting the criteria the government identifies families as requiring significant intervention and support,’ the report says.

‘Authorities face a dilemma between prioritising these families for help and therefore being seen to offer housing stability as a reward for potential anti-social behaviour, or of seeing these families’ lives destabilised by disruptions to their housing.’

The report, Between a rock and a hard place, looked at the impact of three welfare cuts on famililes in London: local housing allowance caps introduced in April 2011, the overall benefit cap due to come in from April 2013, and under-occupation penalties for working age social tenants claiming housing benefit that are due to come in at the same time.

It found the reforms will disproportionately hit children in London because 49 per cent of families affected by the benefit cap are in the capital.

‘Families already affected by the LHA caps are facing significant disruption to their children’s lives,’ the report states.

Readers' comments (17)

  • Well I don't see why 'troubled families' should be protected when 'untroubled' families will not be. I mean it would be perverse if those families who were not classed as troubled (anti social) were subject to the cuts but if those that were being troubling were protected from the cuts. It would actually be an injustice. They should be treat the same.

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  • So they're not going to get "significant intervention and support" then?

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  • All residents and their families will need supporting.There is not enough support now let alone when Aprill hits everyone. This is ridiculous and an injustice to all people. Thousands of families all over the country will have their lives disrupted. Families and single people, many single people over the age of 50 with disabilities whose families have grown up and left home.Why should troubled families be protected and others not.This reform bill is unjust and incomprehensible. I am right in thinking that if someone causes ASB they won't be affected by the bill, when the respectable families trying their hardest to cope with financial and personal problems will be penalized,or have I misunderstood.

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  • Chris

    How odd when the 'troubled families' (if the attempt to link these to those who rioted is correct) are members of well paid, rich list society group. What were these people receiving welfare for exactly!

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  • Tezzer
    The troubled families initiative is another early intervention tool to target and assist families who encounter difficulties due to family members/individuals committing persistent anti social behaviour rather defeats the early intervention strategy due to the ASB by perpetrators being persistent. There are families who encounter difficulties where no ASB occurs and who remain stoical and are not getting the help (financial assistance) they should be entitled to. My concern is the troubled family initiative could be seen as a reward for perpetrators who persistently commit acts of ASB. It is about time parents and individuals take responsibility for there own actions and those that commit the ASB acts should think before act and take into account the consequences for their actions.

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  • Usual Suspect

    actually if benefits caps forced these troubled families to move ( or be moved) to more remote places they would have a lessor impact on society as thier neighbours would be fewer. but wait didnt we try that with Austarilia once.

    But seriously the connection between welfare reform and a small group of troubled familyies smacks of CPAG just picking out difficult issues in order to disparage reform. antisocial behavoiuor is about more than money

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  • Rick Campbell

    The ineffectiveness of governments to 'fix' society never ceases to amaze me.

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  • why the reference to " troubled " families surely they are the trouble. the troubled families are the poor souls who have to put up with the loutish antisocial behaviour of these horrors who certainly should be receiving support at the expense of struggling hardworking families

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  • note last rant should say should NOT be receiving etc...

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  • Seems to me that the new system will turn normal families into troubled families and will certainly create more child poverty and more homelessness.

    Do we need a reservation to herd people up, you know the way in which the indiginous Red Indian was rendered powerless or the aboriginees and maori peoples were?

    Politicians should learn from History and not make the same mistakes twice. Should have had a revolution here like the French that would have sorted out these wealthy mps bankers and city financiers, bleeding the country dry and then expecting the poor, the elderly and disabled to pick up the tab.

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