8,000 Problem Families Are Targeted to Cut Crime Bill ; Councils Paid to Keep Them out of Trouble Conference Held in City to Tackle Issue [City Region Edition 3]

Article excerpt

THE government says targeting 8,000 problem families in Greater Manchester will help prevent a repeat of the 2011 summer riots - and save the taxpayer money.

Louise Casey, who is leading the programme nationwide, said intensive work with the most difficult families was more important than ever in difficult financial times. Kids' charities have said that the number of 'troublesome' families could rise above the government's current estimate of 120,000 across the country because of cuts in areas such as welfare.

But Ms Casey - in Manchester for a summit on the issue - insisted she could still make a real difference. She said: "This programme can only help in tackling problem families.

"It's about talking to parents and saying if you don't know where your kids are at night then that's a problem. We have to remember that these families are costing a great deal of money that councils can ill afford to spend in times of austerity."

Problem families each cost the state an average of Pounds 74,000 a year in the cost of crime and extra welfare bills, according to government estimates.

Under the scheme, councils will be paid 'by results' - receiving Pounds 4,000 for each family they steer away from truancy and unemployment. That means there's a possible Pounds 32. …