Problem family in Barnet costs state £345,000 per year

Jan 23, 2013

Shocking data from London and beyond shows what 'troubled families' are costing the taxpayer

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COMMUNITIES Secretary Eric Pickles last night published figures showing that one problem family in north London had cost the state £345,718 in police call-outs, ambulance alerts and social services interventions in a year.

The household in Barnet is thought to be the most expensive of 120,000 'troubled families' who run up a £9bn bill for the state every year in crime, anti-social behaviour and health problems.

In the north London borough, 18 problem families cost £1,729,112 in one year, an average of £96,062 per family, a price which Pickles claims could be scaled back, The Guardian notes.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Pickles said the government is committed to "turn around" the lives of such families, calling on councils to help tackle the issue to reduce both the financial and human cost across the country.

"It's also only then that you start to appreciate what's really at stake here and get a sense of the urgency I feel about this agenda," he said.

According to the data, released last night by Pickles's Department for Communities and Local Government, an unnamed single parent family in southwest England cost the taxpayer more than £400,000 in two years. Families in West Cheshire cost the council £76,190 each, while in Solihull council, West Midlands, three per cent of families account for almost a fifth of local authority spending.

The government's troubled families unit, led by former victims' commissioner Louise Casey, is heading up the efforts for change through a payment by results scheme, where councils will get £4,000 for each successful intervention.

According to data released last month, the scheme has already had "life changing" results, the BBC reports. For those with a dedicated case worker intervening early, crime had been reduced by 45 per cent and anti-social behaviour by 59 per cent. In Greater Manchester, councils reportedly saved £224m through spending money more effectively on 8,000 families.

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Let them stew in their own juice

surely you mean: they are being pickled?

How is this calculated?

If the family didn't exist would police, council and NHS staff be sacked to save the stated £345,000? If not, how could the cost be "saved" exactly?

Is Mr Pickles actually referring to our dysfunctional 'royal family'?