Wirral families feel benefit of scheme

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Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, speaking at a Conservative Party conference

A government scheme which aims to help thousands of families turn their lives around has reached its halfway point, and new statistics appear to indicate a successful start.

The figures, released by the Department for Communities and Local Government, showed that of the 10,000 families that are being worked on, 4,000 have been ‘turned around’.

It’s now been 18 months into the three-year scheme that was launched in 2011 by Prime Minister David Cameron. It is led by Louise Casey, who advised the Prime Minister during the 2011 riots.

The data has shown that children who were previously playing truant or excluded are now back in school, levels of youth crime and anti-social behaviour are down, and more adults are off benefits and working instead. Public services costs are also down.

In Wirral alone, 910 families were categorised as ‘troubled’. Statistics show 457 families have been worked with and 204 of those have felt the benefit.

Local governments are paid £4,000 for each family they successfully help in a payment-by-results system. It has the potential to bring Wirral Council £3.3m.

Across the country, 62,000 have now received help from the government scheme, and over 22,000 of them have been turned around. More children are now back in school and 1,400 adults from the hardest to help households are back in work.

The government says it hopes to help over 120,000 families in England.

Eric Pickles, Communities Secretary, said: “I am delighted that our programme is already helping half of our target of 120,000 troubled families at its midway stage.

“Councils are making great strides in a very short space of time, dealing with families that have often had problems and created serious issues in their communities for generations.

“These results show that these problems can be dealt with through a no nonsense approach, bringing down costs to the taxpayer at the same time.”

About Lucy Bannister, JMU Journalism