Thomas Bridge 19 August 2014

Pickles blames early morning for figures confusion

Eric Pickles has confessed he struggled to find figures on the costs of the ‘troubled families’ programme because of his early start.

Speaking at 7:50am this morning on LBC, the communities secretary was quizzed about the successes of the Government policy – which was today expanded to include vulnerable youngsters.

Asked by host Nick Ferrari about spending on the programme, Pickles said: ‘This has cost… um… the new figures… it’s going to cost us an extra 20… 200,000… £200m.

‘But these folks cost us £9bn a year,’ he quickly added.

When asked for the total costs, the communities secretary responded: ‘The gross figure on top of that… let me just have a look.’

Accused of being caught out, Pickles responded: ‘My dear chum, it’s first thing in the morning!’

He added that the policy was ‘Getting kids into schools, getting people off the sofa and into work and cutting down the amount of callouts of police to properties.’

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