David Cameron says government has helped almost 120 ‘troubled families’ in Portsmouth

Prime Minister David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron

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Nearly 120 ‘troubled families’ have been helped in Portsmouth under a government scheme.

The Department for Communities and Local Government says 199 families have had their lives ‘turned around’ under the programme.

It aims to tackle truancy, youth crime, anti-social behaviour and long-term unemployment in 40,000 families nationally.

In Portsmouth 555 families were identified to get help. But just 119 have had their lives ‘turned around’.

That is measured by children being in school for three consecutive terms, seeing a reduction in youth crime and anti-social behaviour across the household, and having an adult in the household employed for three consecutive months.

The scheme has ‘turned around’ the lives of 21 per cent of targeted families in the city, compared to other areas that have achieved 75 per cent. Another 371 families are being worked with.

In Wakefield more than 85 per cent of targeted families have been ‘turned around’, in Leicestershire it is 78 per cent and in Bristol it is 75 per cent.

The government highlighted a case in Portsmouth where the scheme helped a single mother-of-three who was in debt and had an eviction notice for rent arrears.

She was suffering from mental health problems and her children were not going to school, while their home was in disrepair.

The scheme provided a family worker to help the mother and arranged for the children to change school and the youngest to go to a nursery closer to home.

Social services no longer have a concern about the family and the woman, who was suffering from anxiety before, has started volunteering and arranged a payment plan for her debt.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: ‘Getting some of our country’s most troubled families’ lives back on track is a key part of our long-term plan – it saves the taxpayer money, gives people the chance to get on in life and secures a better future for these families, their communities and for our country.’

Local authorities get up to £4,000 on a payment-by-results basis for turning around troubled families.

The government has a budget of £448m for the scheme for 2012-15.

The Department for Communities and Local Government said yesterday that without this intervention ‘troubled families’ could cost government up to £75,000 a year.