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‘Troubled’ Havering family cost taxpayers £250,000 over two years

07:00 28 March 2014

Stats show Havering to be performing worse than its neighbouring boroughs in terms of families

Stats show Havering to be performing worse than its neighbouring boroughs in terms of families "turned around" by the halfway stage

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Taxpayers have paid £250,000 for one family’s needs over two years, it has been revealed.

The money was spent on a host of local and national services providing support for issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, crime and anti-social behaviour, mental health, receiving work-related benefits, education and neglect.

The amount, which excludes police costs, was shelled-out betwen 2010-2012 to support one “large” family living in the borough.

According to national statistics released in 2011, the household cost taxpayers £50,000 more annually than the average £75,000 spent on a “troubled family.”

Havering Council would not specify which services the family required specifically, for fear of identication, but confirmed they are now being worked with under the government’s Troubled Families programme.

The scheme aims to “turn around” 120,000 high cost and high need households by 2015 by developing a lead-agency approach to services.

In 2011, Havering Council was tasked with identifying and working with 415 families for the scheme, which rewards council’s for successfully intervening.

Cllr Paul Rochford, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “This project has meant we can work more intensively with some of the most vulnerable families in the borough, helping them to tackle their issues and make their lives better for themselves and their children.

“This not only improves lives, it saves tax-payer money in the long-run.”

As of October 2013, the council had only succesfully “turned around” 34 of the 374 identified families, a lower percentage than Newham, Barking and Dagenham and Redbridge.

The programme offers support including parenting programmes, working with health agencies to deal with drug, alcohol and mental health issues, addressing education attendance, assisting with the debt management, addressing anti-social behaviour, advising on healthy eating and keeping a clean and tidy home.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, warned those that can not change their ways should not be entitled to “limitless support.”

He said: “It’s vital authorities do not allow an individual family to place too much of a burden on local taxpayers. This help cannot be unconditional.”

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