Almost 8,000 “troubled families” are to be offered help in Birmingham, Solihull and the Black Country after councils signed up to the latest scheme designed to stamp out anti-social behaviour.
Councils will be paid by results if they succeed in getting children in the families concerned to attend school, cutting crime and anti-social behaviour committed by family members and helping adults in the family get a job.
Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said the aim was to give the families concerned “a dose of reality”.
But Labour accused him of rehashing policies introduced by the last government.
Under the government’s plans, councils will receive payments of up to £4,000 for each family they help.
The cash will targeted at families where a child under 18 has committed an offence in the last 12 months, or where anyone in the family has received an anti-social behaviour order or similar order in the past 12 months. It will also be targeted at families where a child has been excluded from school or has a history of truancy. If a family meets either of these criteria and also has at least one adult who receives out-of-work benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance or Jobseekers Allowance then they will go to the top of the list for help.
The government estimates that there are 4,180 “troubled families” in Birmingham, as well as 740 in Dudley, 1,115 in Sandwell, 335 in Solihull, 795 in Walsall and 810 in Wolverhampton.
Mr Pickles said the families were not only causing misery for neighbours but were costing large sums of public money.
He said: “We cannot go on spending so much taxpayers’ money on such a small amount of families without turning their lives around once and for all. This programme is a unique opportunity to do so and I am delighted that every council has opted in. Everyone will benefit from getting kids off the streets and into school; getting parents off benefits and into work; and cutting youth crime and anti-social behaviour. But it is also right that we will only pay councils in full if they deliver the results that we require.”