Council Tax exemption for care leavers

Care leavers sign charter (l-r) Jake Kellie, Michael Binns, Amina Hossain

Young people leaving care in Liverpool are set to be granted an exemption from paying Council Tax.

The council’s Cabinet is being recommended to approve the proposal which would benefit young people up to the age of 21 who are leaving the care system and starting to lead independent lives.

It follows a request from Liverpool’s Children in Care Council – a group that represents young people in care in the city, and the move is also backed by the Children’s Society.

Evidence shows that care leavers often move in to their own house or flat earlier than their peers, and they are a particularly vulnerable group for getting into debt.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, said: “Young people leaving care face a difficult transition in to adulthood and managing money for the first time leaves them at real risk.

“We all want the best for our children, and as their corporate parent it is right and proper that we do all we can to support them as much as we can, to help get their independence off to a good start.”

Councillor Barry Kushner, Cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “There are only 20 councils that offer care leavers council tax exemption, and I am proud that Liverpool is joining this list.

“We help give care leavers a good start to their adult life and this decision will add to the support we offer in funding a tenancy with a social landlord as well as access to training and paid work placements.”

Caitlin Ruddy from the Children in Care Council said: “This exemption is going to help us transition from care to independence so much. Many of us give up on a property because we get into debt with council tax.

“It will also be a big incentive for our care leavers to gain employment and stay in work and we thank the council for its help and support.”

Currently, 87 of Liverpool’s 393 care leavers are in independent accommodation and would be eligible for the exemption, which would be worth at least £875 a year (based on a young person living on their own in a Band A property).

Those who live outside of the city boundary will receive a payment equivalent to the amount of Council Tax they have to pay.

People that foster one or more child for the city council already get free council tax, as part of a package of measures to support those helping look after the city’s vulnerable young people.

The Cabinet meets on Friday 21 July to consider the recommendation.