Pickles: It's Time Problem Families Took the Blame

Daily Mail (London), June 11, 2012 | Go to article overview

Pickles: It's Time Problem Families Took the Blame


Byline: Steve Doughty Social Affairs Correspondent

Sometimes when you meet some families, they have got in social work.'Eric Pickles yesterday the language, they are fluent ERIC Pickles yesterday called for tougher action to rein in problem families who are expert in blaming their background and their childhood difficulties for their troubles.

The Communities Secretary said: 'Sometimes when you meet some families, they have got the language, they are fluent in social work.'

Mr Pickles said it was time to level blame at 120,000 'troubled families' said to be at the root of high amounts of crime and social disorder.

'Sometimes we have run away from categorising, stigmatising, laying blame,' he said. The Government is spending [pounds sterling]450million to try to lessen the problems these families cause, which are calculated to cost taxpayers [pounds sterling]9billion a year.

The money will go to councils that succeed in reducing truanting, cutting crime and anti-social behaviour and helping parents get jobs.

But critics said it is likely to have little effect without greater efforts by ministers to end welfare dependency and encourage parents to form more stable families. Mr Pickles said in a newspaper interview that attempts to target help to troubled families had been frustrated in the past by politically-correct attitudes among officials and politicians.

'Folks sat around this table saying, "We can't call these people troubled families because that's stigmatising them",' he said. 'Well, what do you want to call them? Mildly discomforted families? No, these folks are troubled: they're troubling themselves, they're troubling their neighbourhood. We need to do something about it.'

The Communities Secretary said he was furious last summer when he saw three rioters on television pointing at their homes and complaining about deprivation.

'I thought, "Bloody hell, that's better than the house I was brought up in, much better, but I didn't go looting",' he said.

He compared the attitude of troubled families to the New York delinquents in the 1950s musical West Side Story, who have a song called Gee, Officer Krupke in which they blame their drug addict mothers and drunken fathers for their problems. …

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