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Councils to get problem family cash

Local councils which succeed in tackling problem families are to be paid up to £4,000 for each household whose lives they turn around.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said the payment-by-results scheme could produce significant savings for the taxpayer by reducing the £9 billion a year currently spent on the 120,000 most troubled families in England.

Under the plan, local authorities in England will stand to gain if they succeed in getting the children into school, reducing youth crime and anti-social behaviour, and putting the adults back on a path to work.

However they will only receive the full payment once they have delivered results and reduced the average £75,000 a year these families cost the taxpayer through their demands on public services.

For Birmingham, which has more than 4,000 problem families - the largest number of any local authority in England - it could be worth almost £14 million over three years.

Mr Pickles said the scheme was designed to "incentivise local authorities to deal with the truancy, crime and worklessness that can be passed down from generation to generation".

The 10 local authorities with the largest numbers of troubled families have now signed up the scheme following the announcement last year by David Cameron of £448 million of Government funding over the next three years. Ministers expect other councils to follow over the coming months.

"I'm committed to transforming the lives of families stuck in a cycle of unemployment, alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour, where children are truants from school - troubled families who cause such negativity within their communities and who drain resources from our councils," the Prime Minister said.

"I'm heartened that so many local authorities are alert to this challenge and are ready to take forwards our plans to bring about real change."

The authorities signed up to the scheme are: Birmingham, Lancashire, Kent, Manchester, Essex, Leeds, Liverpool, Bradford, Norfolk and Sheffield.


From Belfast Telegraph