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£200m extra for Troubled Families programme

The Troubled Families programme has been boosted with an extra £200m, chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander has announced.

The funding will extend intensive support to 400,000 high-risk families during 2015/16. It will provide new incentives for police, health and social services to work more closely together to turn families’ lives around.

The Troubled Families programme assigns a worker to engage with a whole family on all its problems, with central government covering 40% of the cost. The one-off average investment of £4,500 per family is expected to reduce the annual £15,000 cost of dealing with their problems.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: “The groundbreaking Troubled Families programme being run by local authorities is on track to turn around the lives of 120,000 families by 2015 and reduce the burden they put on the taxpayer for the long term. It does so by taking a no-nonsense approach with families and a common sense approach to changing the way services are run.”

Alexander said: “The Troubled Families programme is a radical example of how, by spending a bit more in certain areas, we can save much more in others and by doing so create a stronger economy and a fairer society. Extending this intensive help to 400,000 more families will enable us to tackle problems such as truancy, anti-social behaviour and crime.”

Head of the Troubled Families programme, Louise Casey, said: “It is great news that the momentum we have built up on the Troubled Families programme can continue by extending the approach to a wider group of families who, for example, are struggling with health problems or parenting, where their children are not in school or are at risk of being taken into care. This new programme will enable us to help earlier in families’ lives to change them for the better.”

LGA chairman Sir Merrick Cockell said: “Tens of thousands of families are already being helped by councils to turn their lives around. This extension of that is a vote of confidence and recognition of just how effective local authorities have been when given the mandate to bring together the work of the whole public sector in their areas.

“Councils have long recognised preventing problems before they happen makes far more sense than trying to fix them when it is too late.

“Further cuts to local government funding will make it increasingly hard to provide the key services that troubled families will need to access to tackle the challenges they face. 

“We will be seeking clarification that this £200 million is actually additional money and not money redirected from existing local authority budgets. We await the Spending Round announcement on Wednesday for more detail on this.”

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