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THERE are an estimated 555 troubled families living in Portsmouth, the government has said.

The figure was given as Prime Minister David Cameron announced almost £450m of funding yesterday to turn around the lives of 120,000 of some of the country’s most troubled families.

To be classed as troubled under the government’s measure, families must meet five out of seven criteria, including truanting children, parents with addiction, and anti-social behaviour.

The funding means the government will now offer up to 40 per cent of the cost of dealing with these families to local authorities through a new Trouble Families Team based within the Department of Communities.

But this money will only be paid on a results basis. Results will be measured in the success of getting children back to school, reducing criminal and anti-social behaviour, getting parents back to work, in a bid to reducr the costs to the taxpayer and local authorities.

New figures show that troubled families cost the taxpayer an estimated £9bn per year, equivalent to £75,000 per family. This is spent on protecting the children and responding to the crime and anti-social behaviour they perpetrate.

The government says children who live in troubled families are 36 times more likely to be excluded from school and six times more likely to have been in care or to have contact with the police.