'Very tough love' for troubled families in Bath and North East Somerset
MORE than 200 of Bath and North East Somerset’s most troubled families face “very tough love” in turning their lives around Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has warned.
The Conservative Cabinet Minister promised activists at the Tory Party conference in Birmingham that moves to tackle problem households would not be a soft option with social workers “feeling their pain or respecting their ‘lifestyle choices’”.
He argued these families had previously been let down by a “cosy centre-left consensus” which had seen them as “too difficult” to deal with.
But an intervention scheme launched by the Government would tackle the issue “head on” and help improve their lives Mr Pickles told the conference.
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Troubled households are estimated to cost the taxpayer £75,000 every year in terms of child protection, and dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour.
Government research shows in Banes alone there are 215 problem families landing the public purse with a potential bill of £16.1 million a year.
Across the country there are estimated to be 120,000 chaotic households costing taxpayers £9 billion a year.
Mr Pickles said of these families: “They have been let down. A cosy centre-left consensus saw this as ‘too difficult’ to tackle.
“They just kept paying the benefit and abandoned people in sink estates.”
He went on: “That is why we have launched a Troubled Families initiative – to tackle this head on.
“We are bringing all the different public agencies together. Dedicated workers to intervene and turn these families’ lives around.
It’s not about social workers feeling their pain or respecting their “lifestyle choices”, it’s about tough love – very tough love.
“It’s not acceptable for parents to blow their benefits on booze or drugs. Or allow their kids to skip school and drift into crime.
“So we will work with families to provide the guidance and supervision that kids need. Every council has signed up to a scheme.”
Mr Pickles added: “By the end of this Parliament, we aim to have turned around one-hundred-and-twenty thousand troubled families.
“It won’t be easy. But we will help improve the lives of the most vulnerable, neglected and exploited in society.”
He also used the wide-ranging address to activists in Birmingham to confirm plans to freeze council tax and set out the action taken to help service personnel and veterans find homes.