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MP claims evictions are hampering government's Troubled Families programme

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MP claims evictions are hampering government's Troubled Families programme


Published by Anonymous for in Central Government and also in Communities, Housing, Local Government

MP claims evictions are hampering government's Troubled Families programme MP claims evictions are hampering government's Troubled Families programme

Eric Pickles has been forced to defend the government's Troubled Families programme after a Labour MP claimed the housing crisis had hampered the scheme's impact.

Siobhain McDonagh, Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, told the Communities Secretary that vulnerable families were being forced to move out of her constituency and live in private rented accommodation in other parts of London.

She told the House of Commons: "Has the Secretary of State had the opportunity to consider the impact of temporary accommodation on the families being looked after by troubled families units?

"Many of those families live in private rented accommodation. In my part of south London and, I am sure, in other parts of London and the south-east, large numbers of people are being placed in temporary accommodation as a result of eviction, some of which is quite distant from their home borough.

"Every Friday, I see families going from south-west London to Wembley, Tottenham and other parts of London. As I see them leave, I am troubled about the future for their children."

Pickles replied: "In preparation for answering the hon. Lady’s question, I asked what concerns she might have about her own authority, Merton, and I was told that she had not had a specific discussion with the authority on this subject. I should like to give her the very good news that Merton, with 337 troubled families, is ranked 120th among the local authorities. It has done an extremely good job and had worked with 86% of those families by the end of March, turning round nearly half of them.

"Merton has now put itself forward to work closely with the expanded programme, and I think the hon. Lady has reason to be proud of the way in which her local authority has handled this matter."

Pickles claimed that the Trobuled Families programme was performing strongly adding: "The Prime Minister has announced that, two years into the three-year programme, over 97,000 of the 120,000 families who will be helped by the programme are being worked with, and that nearly 40,000 have already been turned around."

But Lyn Brown, the Labour MP for West Ham, hit back at the figures. She said: "The Secretary of State asserts that the programme is succeeding, but how can he justify that when, even on his own tests, many of the families he claims to have “turned round” are still committing crimes, their children are still missing school and their family members are not working? Indeed, some of the families he claims to have turned round have been nowhere near the programme."

Pickles replied: "I do not understand the hon. Lady’s hostility. This has been a very successful programme, and we have worked closely with Labour authorities.

"There is a lagging authority, however. I understand that her experience might be different, in that Newham has identified 985 families and is working with 90% of them, but has turned round only 14% of them, compared with the national average of 33%.

"Let us be clear: we are not turning these good folks into model citizens — these are very difficult families — but if we can get the children into school for three successive terms, get other family members into work for three months and reduce the amount of antisocial behaviour, it is better for those people and for their neighbours.

"It is also a lot better than the rather smug attitude being taken by some opposition members."


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