Some 3,750 of Devon and Cornwall's most troubled families face "very tough love" over turning their lives around, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has warned.
The Conservative Cabinet Minister promised activists at the Tory Party conference in Birmingham that moves to tackle problem households would not be a soft option with social workers "feeling their pain or respecting their 'lifestyle choices'."
He argued that these families had previously been let down by a "cosy centre-left consensus" which had seen them as "too difficult" to deal with".
But an intervention scheme launched by the Government would tackle the issue "head- on" and help improve their lives Mr Pickles told the conference.
Troubled households are estimated to cost the taxpayer £75,000 every year in terms of child protection, and dealing with crime and anti-social behaviour.
Government research shows in Devon and Cornwall alone there are 3,750 problem families landing the public purse with a potential bill of nearly £281 million.