COUNCIL chiefs in Southampton are starting to tame “neighbours from hell” – after being criticised for a slow start.

Earlier this year, it was revealed the Government had not handed over any cash under a ‘payment-by-results’ system introduced almost one year earlier.

That meant the city council had failed to prove it had ‘turned around’ the life of any of the estimated 685 “troubled families” in the city.

But, six months on, new figures have revealed that 38 payments have been made to Southampton, by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Progress has also been made by Hampshire County Council, which has been paid for successfully helping 74 “troubled families”.

To earn the cash, they must either cut truanting, cut youth crime and antisocial behaviour, get adults looking for work, or cut the costs of tackling the problems caused.

David Cameron led praise of local authorities that were taking action, after 14,000 successes were recorded across the country, in 15 months.

The Prime Minister said: “I am determined that we help people to get on in life, including those families where things may be going wrong.

“For some, that starts with attending school every day, staying out of trouble with the police and taking practical steps towards work, just as other families do.”

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Southampton’s Cabinet member for communities, said the council was “pleased with the results” from its scheme, called Families Matter.

She said: “We are working hard to ensure that we can continue to make a difference for more families in the city.

“This is important work, as our concentrated support helps these families find ways to better manage their lives and gives them the skills to find positive solutions they might not have otherwise had.”

However, both Southampton and Hampshire councils have a long way to go to help all the “troubled families” identified in their areas.

There are thought to be 685 in Southampton, of which the city council has “started working” with 355 – and been credited with success with 38.

In Hampshire, help is now being offered to all of the 546 families that the council has identified and 74 payments have been made.

On the Isle of Wight, only four lives have been turned around of the 161 “troubled families” identified, of which 148 are being worked with.

Two years ago – in the wake of that summer’s riots – Mr Cameron vowed to turn around the lives of 120,000 problem families by 2015.

Councils can be paid up to £4,000 for each family they help. In the first year of the scheme, 80 per cent – or £3,200 – is paid up front, reducing to 40 per cent in 2014-15.