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After fun of the Jubilee, back to trying to tackle troubled families

By Brentwood Gazette  |  Posted: June 14, 2012

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THE bunting is now packed away, at least until the Olympic Torch comes through Brentwood and surrounding villages on July 6, but I believe Her Majesty the Queen would be happy about the way her Diamond Jubilee was celebrated in the Brentwood and Ongar constituency.

I popped into a few events over the bank holiday, and was pleased to see how everyone in the community pulled together to make sure the Queen's 60 years on the throne were marked in true style.

I was struck, especially at the Strawberry Fair on Shenfield Common, how many good things are going on in the area.

Stalls run by representatives from Brentwood District Scouts, the Lighthouse Furniture Project and Brentwood County High School were all busy, among many others.

The Brentwood Brewing Company was at the Strawberry Fair, fresh from its success at the Cambridge Beer Festival, where its Brentwood BBC2 ale was named beer of the festival, which was an excellent result for this fine local company.

Although Parliament has been in recess for the last week, I have been busy in the Department of Communities and Local Government, rolling out the Troubled Families Team, which has been set up to deal with families who have serious problems.

Troubled families are families who are stuck in a cycle of unemployment, alcohol abuse and antisocial behaviour.

They damage themselves, the communities they live in and cost the taxpayer £9 billion a year in terms of protecting the children in these families and responding to the crime and antisocial behaviour they perpetrate.

The Government has made available £450 million in an ambitious, but achievable, cross-government drive to turn around about 120,000 of the country's most troubled families.

I believe these measures will go a long way to resolving these families' problems, providing much-needed assistance to help them turn their lives around, as well as dramatically improving the wellbeing of the communities where they live.

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