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Tower Hamlets’ “troubled families” targeted by Coalition

PUBLISHED: 10:35 13 June 2012 | UPDATED: 11:08 13 June 2012

Eric Pickles, who launched the Government's

Eric Pickles, who launched the Government's "troubled families" programme this week

Archant

Tower Hamlets has been identified as the London borough with the most “troubled families” in the week the government unveiled plans to clamp down on them.

The borough has 1,120 such families, out of the 120,000 in total across the UK, which ministers say cost organisations such as the NHS and social services £9bn per year.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles claims that the programme targets those households which cost the public purse the most, for example through crime and anti-social behaviour, children not attending school and adults claiming benefits.

The government now plans to divert £448m to local authorities over the next four years to tackle these problems.

However, after the first two years, this will only constitute 40% of the funding required, with the other 60% being sourced from individual councils.

These local authorities will receive funding on a payment by results basis, with money being allocated when they are successful in achieving outcomes such as improving school attendance rates, reducing anti-social behaviour and finding employment for adults in these families.

Tower Hamlets council admit the policy will be a difficult one to implement in the borough. In a statement released to The Advertiser, they said: “The programme poses a significant challenge as it is the first time the Government has applied a payment by results approach to the provision of such a complex set of services.

“The council will not be using terminology such as “troubled families” during any intervention work due to the stigma it would raise.”

Speaking to Radio Four’s Today programme on Monday, Mr Pickles said: “These families are ruining their own lives, they’re ruining their children’s lives and they’re ruining the lives of their neighbours and I think it’s a laudable attempt to deal with that to get their kids back into school, to get them on the road to work and to cut down anti-social behaviour.”

The other London boroughs with more than 1,000 so-called trouble families are Southwark, Lambeth and Hackney.

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