Senior councillors have approved a decision to provide care leavers with discretionary council tax reduction as they begin their independent adult life.
We have decided to introduce discretionary council tax support for young people who have left care, including up to 100 per cent reduction in council tax for those living on their own. There will be a 50 per cent reduction for young care leavers living in a household with another person.
We have decided to provide the support in recognition of the many challenges young people face as they leave council care to develop independent lives and life skills. It can be a challenging time for care leavers and difficulties in managing their own budgets can be exacerbated if they fall behind with council tax.
We, as a corporate parent, already have a policy of supporting care leavers up to the age of 25. By granting a discretionary reduction of up to 100 per cent of council tax, we will be providing financial support to care leavers as they start out in life.
The help will only be extended to care leavers who live in the county.
The proposal was approved at the council’s executive meeting on Tuesday, 25 October.
Executive member for children’s services, Cllr Janet Sanderson, said: “We know that managing a household budget can be challenging for any young person who has just left home. It is a time in life when you may be joining a workforce for the first time, starting out in career development, or training and covering the costs of setting up a home.
“It can be particularly challenging for young people who have just left care and don’t have the support of a family who can step in to help financially.
“As the corporate parent in these circumstances, it is only right that the county council has discretion to step in and help.”
Under the new proposals, there will be a 100 per cent reduction for care leavers living on their own, which includes those who were looked after for at least 13 weeks from the age of 14.
It will also include young people who were in residential education, including provision for mental health needs or other health provision and those who were privately fostered, or subject to special guardianship arrangements.
There will be a 50 per cent reduction for care leavers who are jointly liable for council tax with at least one other person in a household who is not a care leaver.
Both the amount and the duration of the reduction will be at the discretion of the council and will be awarded on the basis of the evidence supplied and the circumstances of the individual.