Conservatives have welcomed the news that the Government is to extend its flagship ‘Troubled Families’ programme which aims to transform the lives of families who, due to unemployment, crime, anti-social behaviour, school truancy and other social problems, currently cost taxpayers around £9 billion a year.
The initiative was launched by the Coalition Government in April last year and involves local authorities assigning a dedicated worker to engage with a whole family on all of its problems. Previously, many different agencies worked separately with families, leading to duplication, increased cost and very low success rates in addressing families’ problems.
Yesterday’s announcement in the Comprehensive Spending Review extends the scheme beyond its current cut off point in 2015 and involves an extra £200 million of Government funding and new incentives for local services such as the police, health and social services to work more closely together in order to reduce costs and improve outcomes for families.
The Government and Brighton & Hove City Council have identified 675 ‘troubled families’ in the city who, on average, cost taxpayers £15,000 a year. The potential savings from tackling their problems are therefore over £10 million a year.
Conservative Group Deputy Leader and Spokesperson for Communities, Cllr. Dee Simson, said: “I’m delighted that the Government is providing more funding for this excellent scheme. For too long, our local communities have been blighted by the consequences of Governments turning a blind eye to these families. Indeed, the previous Labour Government, who were in power for 13 years, were more guilty than most in failing to tackle the causes of inter-generational poverty, letting down the very people they profess to represent.”
Group Spokesperson for Children & Young People, Cllr. Andrew Wealls, added: “It is shameful that the life chances of young people growing up in these families are so poor. Early evidence from councils who have led the way on Troubled Families shows that it really can work and provide young people with the opportunities they truly deserve. I urge Brighton & Hove City Council to redouble their efforts.”
Group Spokesperson for Adult Care & Health, Cllr. Ken Norman, added: “The extension of the scheme to a wider group of families who, for example, are struggling with health problems or parenting, is hugely welcome. In order for this scheme to be truly effective, we must work to ensure that the families that are helped are not simply replaced by another group of ‘at risk’ families.”
Notes to editors:
Details of the Government’s extension to the Troubled Families Initiative can be found here.
Details of how each local authority is performing can be found here.
Central government covers 40% of the cost of working with each troubled family. This funding will come from across Whitehall, with full payment made only when results are achieved. The other 60% will be covered by local authorities and other local partners who all benefit from the savings that result.