Just 25 ‘Shameless’ families helped onto the straight and narrow in Milton Keynes

Image taken from Channel 4's Shameless  series
Image taken from Channel 4's Shameless series

A programme to turn around the lives of the most troubled families in the country has so far managed to get only 25 Milton Keynes families on the straight and narrow.

Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed the news that the Government’s Troubled Families programme has now turned around the lives of almost 40,000 hard to help families, getting children off the streets and into school and helping people to get back to work.

In the south east, almost 4,000 families have had their lives turned around.

However, with an estimated 425 troubled families in Milton Keynes, the 25 who have been successfully helped represents just six per cent - the lowest rate in the region.

Troubled families are defined as those who:

* are involved in youth crime or anti-social behaviour;

* have children who are excluded from school or regularly truanting;

* have an adult on out-of-work benefits;

* cost the public sector large sums in responding to their problems, an estimated average of £75,000 per year.

Turning around troubled families means:

* getting children back into school;

* cutting youth crime and anti-social behaviour across the whole family;

* getting adults into work; and

* reducing the costs to the taxpayer of tackling their problems.

Local authorities are paid up to £4,000 on a payment-by-results basis for turning around troubled families.

With each troubled family estimated to cost an average of £75,000 a year, nationally the 40,000 families could have been costing the taxpayer in the region of £3 billion per year without intervention.

Mr Cameron said that the fact that truancy, youth crime and anti-social behaviour had been significantly reduced in 40,000 homes; and adults were in a job or better able to work, were helping to secure a better future for these families and the country as a whole.

He added: “Getting some of our country’s most troubled families’ lives back on track is a key part of our long-term plan - it saves the taxpayer money, gives people the chance to get on in life and secures a better future for these families, their communities and for our country.”

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said: “The Troubled Families programme is good for the economy as it reduces the £9bn annual cost to the taxpayer and helps people back into work. It also improves life for communities which see less crime and anti-social behaviour and, most importantly, supports families who get a chance to have a brighter future. Progress is being made in all corners of the country and I’m proud that this Government is taking action to help change the lives of the families most in need.”