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ALMOST £450m will be made available to help turn around the lives of 120,000 of some of the country’s most troubled families by the end of this Parliament.

New figures show that troubled families cost the tax- payer an estimated £9billion per year, equivalent to £75,000 per family.

This is spent on protecting the children in these families and responding to the crime and anti-social behaviour they commit.

A new troubled families team based within the Department for Communities and Local Government, and headed by Louise Casey, has been established to join up efforts across Whitehall, provide expert help to local areas and drive forward the

strategy.

Under the new plans, the Government will offer up to 40 per cent of the cost of dealing with these families to local authorities – but on a payment-by-results basis when they and their partners achieve success with families.

Success will be determined by getting children back into school, reducing their criminal and anti-social behaviour, getting parents on the road back to work, and reducing the costs to the taxpayer and local authorities.

The new programme will also fund a national network of troubled family ‘trouble-shooters’ who will be appointed by local councils.

Their responsibilities will include making sure the right families are getting the right type of help, that sanctions are in place when needed, and that positive results are being achieved with the troubled families in their area.

These 120,000 families are a big problem for this country.

If you live near one, you will know very well who they are.

And local services like police, health and schools also know who they are, because they spend a disproportionate amount of time and money dealing with them.

These families are both troubled, and causing trouble.

We want to get to the bottom of their problems and resolve them – for their own good, and for the good of their communities.

COUN GEORGE WESTWATER

Cullercoats Ward,

North Tyneside Council.