Eric Pickles says problem families must take responsibility for themselves
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said that authorities have been too slow to blame problem families for their own difficulties.
Announcing further expansion of a scheme to 'turn around' the lives of such households, Mr Pickles said he was dedicating £150 million a year of funding over three years to the project.
Councils who request funds from the scheme will have to match it with their own cash, and if they are successful in helping the families improve, they will get additional Government funding.
Mr Pickles said he had concluded after reviewing how Government currently deals with 'problem families' that authorities are too slow to blame the adults for their own problems and see them as victims.
He said: "A lot of people who receive free school meals, people that don't have an awful lot of money, lead perfectly productive lives and aren't a bother to their neighbours, and I think actually, we do get into this problem of sometimes seeing trouble families as victims."
"They're not, they have it within themselves, within their own capabilities to get out of the mess, and what we'll be doing is getting alongside these families and giving them an opportunity to get into the real world."
Speaking to BBC Radio Four, Mr Pickles confessed that the estimated 120,000 families the Government has labelled as problematic may not be reliable, as the data is old, but insisted that did not matter.
The figure is based on an estimate made by the Cabinet Office in 2007 based on a 2005 survey. Mr Pickles said that analyzing the figures was 'petty'
"We are moving beyond the petty point, the rather silly academic point, about how many there are," he said.
What do you think? Do you agree that local authorities should clamp down harder and faster on 'problem' families, and not see them as the victims?