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Councils to fund troubled families programme

Every eligible council has agreed to join the Government’s troubled families scheme, which financially incentivises them to reduce benefit dependency and truanting among the hardest-to-reach households.

The Government says the 120,000 families being targeted cost the taxpayer £9bn per year and cause significant social problems, such as reliance on benefits, school absences and police call-outs. The programme aims to join up relevant services by working with social workers, teachers, police officers and doctors.

The Government is diverting £448m from existing departmental budgets over four years to go towards a network which will identify troubled families and ensure they have access to the right services.

However, this money will only cover 40% of the costs and local authorities will have to commit to funding the other 60% if they wish to use the network. If councils manage to reduce a families benefit dependency or truanting, they will receive financial rewards.

Families need to meet five out of seven criteria to be classified as ‘troubled’. These include parents with addictions and anti-social behaviour.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles is expected to announce later today that all councils have agreed to take part in the scheme.

Speaking at the launch of the initiative in March, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I am very proud of the fact that this government has decided to roll up its sleeves and really try and deal with these problems, it's a hugely important area of work.”

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