Southwark supports council tax exemption for care leavers

13 December 2017

Southwark Council Cabinet voted last night (December 12) to ensure that young people leaving  care did not have to struggle with the burden of council tax bills.

The move will ensure that Southwark care leavers aged between 18 and 24 who are residents in the borough will be automatically exempt from paying council tax from March 2018.

The council’s decision has been backed by The Children’s Society who have led a campaign encouraging local authorities to waive council tax payments for those leaving care. Research from the national charity reveals that council tax debt can be a particularly frightening experience for care leavers.  
It is the council’s duty as "corporate parent" to ensure young people in council care get that best start in life just as any other parent would for their child when they turned 18.

Cllr Fiona Colley, Cabinet Member for Finance, Modernisation and Performance said: “Children in care have already faced significant challenges and it is only right that we give care leavers a helping hand as they take the next steps in their lives.

“I am pleased and incredibly proud that we are officially supporting the Children's Society's campaign and agreeing to exempt our 18 to 24 year old care leavers from Southwark council tax.”

Sam Royston, Director of Policy and Research at The Children’s Society, said: “Care leavers have often experienced a really difficult upbringing and they may have experienced abuse, neglect or family breakdown which can have a big impact upon their life chances.

“Without the family support most young people get as they become adults, care leavers often struggle to juggle their household bills and make ends meet. Many find themselves in debt, or having to go without food or other basic necessities."

He continued: “To expect some of the country’s most vulnerable young people to start paying council tax just days after leaving care is setting them up to fail. That’s why The Children’s Society is continuing to call on local authorities to exempt care leavers from paying council tax.
“We’re delighted that Southwark Council is adopting this exemption, which will make life easier for many young people making the move into independent living.”

Page last updated: 13 December 2017