So who are these problem families?
Well, according to the government a family is a problem family if they meet at least five of the following criteria:
a) no parent in work
b) poor quality housing,
c) no parent with qualifications,
d) mother with mental health problems
e) one parent with longstanding disability/illness
f) family has low income,
g) Family cannot afford some food/clothing items
So, as the Guardian points out:
"In so far as can be gleaned, the 120,000 families whose feral ways Mr Pickles and the prime minister like pointing to were totted up using outdated surveys concerned not with the school skiving, crime and loutishness that dominated yesterday's spin. It seems instead that in and among the indicators used for that figure were disability, long-term illness and poor housing. These data are, in other words, a gauge of who is vulnerable and not who is troubled, still less troublesome."So these people who Eric Pickles and the press are villifying aren't in fact drunken louts who commit crimes and ruin neighbourhoods, these are people in great difficulty. Of course, people who meet the criteria could also genuinely cause problems but just because you have a disability which prevents you from working, have a low income, don't have enough money to buy new clothes and have a leaking roof, does not mean you deserve to be described as "louts", "irresponsible", "druggies", "scroungers" or "feckless".
And these are the people who will now face a government led witch hunt and inquisition into every aspect of their lives for their "crimes" - with a supporting role plaid by right wing tabloids who will ceaselessly hunt for one extreme example of a problem family and then trumpet that as proof that all the others are vermin. It's sickening.
Oh, and on top of that, it turns out that the figures used to come up with the figure of 120,000 troubled families are eight years old and very, very flaky. In fact, Factcheck says:
In reporting on the supposed 120,000 'problem' families, both the media and Government ministers seem to have fundamentally misunderstood what the number tells us. Rather than this being an identifiable group "in trouble or causing trouble", this figure refers to the number of families identified as having a number of social or economic difficulties or disadvantages.And all of the above put together is why I consider the tories to be lower than vermin. It's because time and time again they come up with policies which seem determined to find the most vulnerable people they can and then repeatedly kick them in the gut all the while telling them that it's their own fault and seeking praise in the tabloids for doing it. They're bullies, plain and simple. And not only bullies but also bloody stupid bullies who can't even manage to get their figures right.
When it comes to the cost to the taxpayer of providing services to these families, there are also significant questions that need to be answered before we can have confidence in the £9 billion figure. While DCLG have said that analysis done by colleagues in the Department for Education formed the foundations of its estimate, a closer look at the DfE's work shows that it actually concerns only part of this group of families, the minority with 'problem' child behaviour.